And another action shot: we also caught this gray jay in motion.
Though we're sharing photos with wildlife in them here, it's also worth noting that many times, our motion-cameras were triggered by nothing but wind or snow falling from the trees -- the quiet we're capturing is as much a truth of winter in the northern conifer forests as the animal action.
Also this weekend, some of our trip leaders teamed up for a tracking trip to the Clear Lake area. (We don't normally track here because of all the snowmobile activity, but Super Bowl Sunday was the perfect time! Nice and quiet.)
The team descended through woods of Western and Mountain Hemlock, Doug Fir, Larch, and Lodgepole to Clear Creek, and they started following it upstream to the lake.
In the open by Clear Creek, though, with nothing above to drip down, the tracking conditions were excellent, and the team found a single, clear trail from a surprising creature: a raccoon.
This animal was meandering around the creek, going in and out of it, and looking for a winter meal. Raccoons eat a number of creek-dwelling prey, including freshwater mussels and crayfish, so it was a good place to hunt. See the mud on one of its feet from the creek?
Those were the only animal tracks of the day, but far from the only signs of life in the forest. As many teams have recently, our trip leaders examined many different woodpecker holes, and found one that had been filled with hair and lichen to make a nest! It seemed likely squirrel-sized, but they couldn't tell anything definitive.
Speaking of insects, it's always good to remember that they're what woodpeckers are after when we see see their holes. And that they leave their own tracks! Here, on the left, the tracks of a pine engraver beetle. On the right, an unidentified species. (Does anyone know?)
See you next week for more wildlife and mountain mysteries!