Today our tracking team visited the Frog Lake Buttes area, where snow conditions were pretty poor; it had rained much more recently than snowed. Despite the poor snow condition, it was a great reminder that there are many ways animals leave signs of their activity other than tracks in the snow. The group found some aged and weathered scat that was either coyote or bobcat as well as a few areas where snowshoe hare were clearly frequenting, leaving behind a large quantity of scat.
The most extensive droppings found on top of the snow weren't scat, they were tree droppings, so the group took the chance to brush up on their tree identification. Knowing your trees is an important aspect of tracking, because it helps you identify the forest type you are in and know what kind of animal life you can expect there. We looked at the trees themselves, and also at cones they dropped. In the picture below, from left to right: Douglas Fir, Mountain Hemlock, and Western Hemlock cones. Can you spot the differences?