Hare of the Frog, Fox of the Spur
Last weekend, camera crews prepared for some of the final checks of the season, and a team of trackers headed up to Frog Lake for a beautiful sunny day in the snow. Both the tracking and camera volunteers made surprising finds!
Tracking conditions at Frog Lake were excellent, and when they turned their eyes away from the scenery and down at the ground, the volunteers were rewarded with crystal-clear snowshoe hare tracks.
Here's one particularly fun, clear trail they found. See how the hare hops to the corner, rests on all four feet, and then changes direction?
The trackers enjoyed soaking up all that vitamin D, and were willing to get creative when the sun made it hard to see the tracks. Put this trick in your toolbox!
Snowshoe hare tracks aren't entirely surprising at this point in the season, but two members of the team did find themselves surprised to see an actual snowshoe hare! Trip leader JJ was quick with his camera and snagged this shot before the hare bounded away.
Surprised that the hare isn't snow white? I was, too, a little bit, but it turns out not all of them make the annual change to white fur. Good to know, and to see for ourselves!
While trackers at Frog Lake were watching that hare, a pair of camera volunteers were collecting
some very cool footage from the Cooper Spur area: our lowest elevation fox sighting yet.
Remember a few years ago, when Cascadia Wild made the news for our findings on the red foxes of Mt. Hood? (If you don't, you can check out the article here.) Well, we've been continuing to help researchers document fox activity on the mountain, systematically pointing our cameras at lower and lower elevations each year, and this is the lowest we've seen fox activity yet. Pretty cool!
Those photos were snapped with our newest wildlife camera, and it came away from its first mission a little worse for the wear. Looks like a mouse tried to make a shelter out of it, and things didn't work out as planned for either party.
Thanks for reading the second to last Winter Weekly of the 2016-17 season! See you next week...