We had camera checks at Bear Springs Far, Clear Lake, and Government Camp West, plus our intrepid trackers went snow camping near Timberline. Check out what they found, plus hear about a couple upcoming events!
The overnight tracking trip (as well as all the snow in the city!) has us thinking about what we need to do to stay warm - and gets us thinking of all the different ways the animals in our region are specialized to deal with this winter weather.
Tracking Trip Updates
The snow tracking survey trip this week did an overnight trip to the Timberline area. They followed a marten trail, then in the evening some of them were amibitious enough to build snow shelters to help stay warm. The shelter below looks quite cozy!
This marten was traveling with a very unusual gait, but if you look closely, you can see 5 toes on all four feet.
Wildlife Camera Findings
Coyotes' ability to capitalize on any available resources might be one of their greatest adaptations that serves them through winter. Rodents? Great! Deer? Sounds good! Nuts and berries? Love it!
Bobcats (and lynx, too) are unusual in the feline family because of their short tails. Perhaps due to their preference to hunt in dense, woody areas, a long tail was no longer necessary in their quick-pivoting, brushy chases - similar to the Coopers Hawk, which has shorter, rounded wings for hunting among the tree branches.
Round two of the weasel escapades! This camera station is undoubtedly this weasel's favorite place to pass the time. The last camera set was a tale of weasel-vs-woodrat, while this set found a competitor-less weasel luxuriously enjoying its surroundings. (Check out the full sets for weeks of this weasel bounding and jumping through the days)
Weasels are extremely inefficient at conserving heat due to their high-surface-area body shape. To counteract this, they have an extremely high metabolism that keeps them on the move and searching for food. When they're lucky, the catch prey that had a nice, warm den for them to commandeer!
Snowshoe hares have adapted in many ways we are all familiar with, like their extremely large, furry hind feet that keep them up on top of the snow. Additionally, snowshoe hares typically turn white at the beginning of winter. In some areas, however, this change does not occur due to the lack of reliable and consistent snowfall. This is a good thing for these creatures, as their bright white fur would be a dead give-away on a brown, snowless day.
Tracking Trip Updates
A group visited Froglake Snopark over the weekend and observed coyote, squirrel, hare tracks. Coyote feeding habits differ in the winter as opposed to the more plentiful times of spring and summer, and we can expect to see them not only along the trails of their favorite prey animals, but also scavenging more often and doing their best to conserve their energy.
Wildlife Camera Findings
This Meadows marten left us picture-perfect tracks. Here we can observe the angled two-print pattern and we even see the hints of what could be the five toes and claw marks.
At the same camera, we got an excellent view of a coyote's meadnering tracks.
This Bear Springs Near coyote is displaying a habit most of us wish our dogs at home could resist! Scent-rolling, wallowing, or scent-bathing are all names for the act of rolling in something most of us would turn our noses up at. However, for these predators and our pups at home, this habit offers a convenient way to disguise their own scent. Not only is there the potential for them to hide their own scent from their prey, but it would also hide their scent from any predators coming after THEM! This is especially true for the smaller predators who practice this ritual.
Lastly, Alpine got picked over by two ravens, but they were kind enough to wait until only a few days before the camera check to steal all the bait!
More tracking and camera trips coming up, be sure to sign up and we will see you soon!
Cascadia Wild relies on donors like you to keep the equipment maintained and the data in order!
An anonymous supporter will make an additional donation for every gift or membership of $50 or more received in December, and will double it if we reach our goal!
Please make a year end gift or become a member today.
Help us reach our goal and keep these programs going in 2019!
As snow continues to build up, so do our chances of finding rare signs! Can you identify a wolverine track? Look for these identifying track features:
• Typical mustelid structure, with 5 toes on all feet
• Front: 4-7.5 inches long x 4-5 inches wide
• Hind: 3.5-4 inches long x 4-5 inches wide
• Thickly furred feet often cause tracks to look indistinct
Wolverines leave a very unusual trail pattern with lines of footprints at an angle to the direction of travel. How do they move to leave such a pattern? Watch this illuminating video to see them in motion. (Thanks, Jen, for sharing this!) Check it out so you'll have a mental image to call up when observing tracks in the field.
Their unique loping gait leaves a distinctive trail pattern we know you'll be able to identify if and when the opportunity presents itself!
We're off to an incredible start! Already a Sierra Nevada red fox has visited the camera at Meadows. Here are the highlights, below. Watch our social media pages for more pictures, and check out the full sets on googledocs. We think they're especially fun this week!
About the updates
The pictures that you bring back from the wildlife cameras will be posted to Google Drive for you to look at. (For those of you who helped out last summer, the Flickr page will no longer be used.)
In addition, we will be sending you a weekly email with the highlights from both the cameras and the tracking surveys. You can also check out other photos on our facebook and instagram pages.
The summer season has come to an end. Thanks to all your help, we were able to get new information on 3 different target species, as well many other carnivores.
Here's what we found.
A wolf pack is now confirmed to be on the Warm Springs Reservation. They also utilize parts of the Mt Hood National Forest, as seen in the photo below. Now that the pack is established, the questions become: will they be able to survive in the area long term and where will they disperse to next? We now need to keep on eye on the rest of the forest and see where they show up next!
Two cameras got Sierra Nevada red fox detections this summer, Lambertson Butte and Meadows West. The photo from Lambertson Butte went unnoticed until recently - the fox passed quickly and only left this one blurry photo. But that is enough!
Here are the two individuals from the winter:
Marten are known to live in high elevation, closed canopy forest, and their pictures from Lambertson Butte, Newton Upper, Meadows Ski Lift, Meadows West, and Meadows Buildings confirm this. But this summer we also got one unusal sighting - from Lemiti Creek! This site borders the Ollallie Lakes area, where they are known to live, but the site itself is in a young lodgepole pine forest that is still recovering from a severe burn. It has a thick regenerating layer of trees less than 10 ftt tall, but hardly any large trees at all. The camera only picked up one picture before it failed for the rest of the summer. Too bad! It would be great to know more about this individual.
Here's a marten from the camera near Mt Hood Meadows Resort:
Here's the final tally of what we found this summer.
Having so much information on many different species, for many years, has creeated a great opportunity to detect any changes to the wildlife community now that wolves have moved in. We look forward to continuing the study in the years to come!
Thank you all for a great season!!
Almost exactly one year ago, we sent out an email that concluded with photos of wolverines and wolves, and a hopeful wish that "one day soon we would see these two animals return to Mount Hood." HOW AMAZING that we were able to check one of these off our list this year! What we have found this season has been truly momentous and our volunteers are to thank for that.
We are finishing out the summer season with a few more beautiful shots of some of our frequent camera visitors:
pair of wolves seen visiting one of our cameras near the Warm Springs boundary.
Although the second wolf stayed mostly behind the brush, this one provided a variety of beautiful photos.
Watch our social media pages for a complete set of photos
In early January 2018, ODFW confirmed a pair of wolves traveling together in Mount Hood National Forest. In August, the pair was confirmed to have had at least two pups (confirmed by ODFW trail cams.)
In JULY, Cascadia Wild captured these incredible photos! (Yes, July! We'll say we left the cameras unchecked so that we didn't steal the thunder from ODFW's announcement a month later!)
In these photos you can see two similarly sized individuals investigating around our camera. This is an amazing confirmation of their presence in the forest and a valuable resource in their protection (wolves are protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act in many parts of Oregon.)
We know you've already loaded up your tracking gear and started your car to go scour the area for sign, but at the moment, "the vicinity of Warm Springs Boundary" will have to suffice. (expect equally vague locations on Flikr as well.)
Follow the links below and check our Instagram to compare photos. Do you think they are the same individuals?
Sighting with Pups
THANK YOU to all of our volunteers for making these pictures happen!
California Ground Squirrel
Red Tailed Hawk
Sierra Nevada Red Fox
Summer Wildlife Surveys
Winter Wildlife Surveys
Wolverine Tracking Project