Lots of fun stuff going on over the past week! Tracking Trips went out over the weekend and we have photos from our cameras at Hazel Hollow, Little Zig Zag, Clear Lake, Alpine, and Yellowjacket East and West. Stay warm out there!
Remember: The pictures that you bring back from the wildlife cameras will be posted to Google Drive for you to look at. (the Flickr page will no longer be used.)
It sure has been beautiful for the latest tracking trips! There have been some nice tracks found on the camera trips too, like the perfect squirrel track below.
Looks snowy and beautiful at the Crosstown Trail at Government Camp!
Voles/Mice, Squirrel, and Snowshoe Hare all left tracks for us to find.
Wildlife Camera Findings
Lots of bobcats and marten have been seen lately! Additionally, lots of elk, deer, and multiple types of birds. Check out the full sets on googledocs.
A bobcat leaves a clear track in the snow at Alpine.
A marten at Little Zig Zag
Lots of birds
It looks like we're not the only ones watching this elk!
THANK YOU to all of our supporters!
Wildlife Camera Findings
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!
An investigative fox at Meadows
A coyote made regular circles around the bait at Meadows, a buck visits Hazel Hollow #2
A buck intently watches a nearby doe...and the chase is on!
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.
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!
Sierra Nevada Red Fox
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!
The Meadows West camera detected two different individuals when it was up last winter, based on their coat color. The pictures this summer could be one of the same individuals.
Here are the two individuals from the winter:
And here's the pictures from this summer:
From the grid of cameras we had in the Meadows area, one tentative conclusion is that these fox prefer the higher elevation locations, at least during the summer.
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:
And here's the one blurry picture from Lemiti Creek:
Here's the final tally of what we found this summer.
The winner for the greatest number of species goes to Jackpot Meadows, and the winner for the least number of species - but still getting a target species - is tied between Lemiti Creek, Newton Upper, and Meadows Ski Lift.
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 all of our cameras are back in from this summer, and what amazing things we found together. Thank you to all our volunteers and supporters!
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:
We had quite a few photogenic deer visiting Camas Prairie at the end of October.
THANK YOU to all of our volunteers for making these pictures happen!
All the winter camera are now up! Thank you to all of you who have braved the cold these past few weeks to learn how to set bait and put up wildlife cameras. We know just how cold your hands can get while weaving bailing wire, so hopefully you've picked up some tricks to stay warm! Overall, the first trips all went smoothly with only minor hiccups like some uncharged batteries being brought out to Teacup.
So, here are some of the highlights from the beginning of the season:
A handful of us got to try out snowshoeing for the first time on a beautiful day at Teacup Lake
A fox was sighted at Newton Creek!
A pine marten at Meadows
And a deer at Cloud Cap #2
Well, last weekend was the last weekend. Of the Cascadia Wild 2016-17 Tracking and Camera season, that is. And it sure was a good one to finish the year -- lots of critters showed up on the cameras, and our tracking team had a beautiful day in the snow. And signs of spring are showing up on the mountain -- even in the snow -- giving us a taste of the season that's starting up as we're winding down.
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!
Volunteers set out to track in the Cloud Cap Road area this weekend, on the north east side of the mountain. It's an area where long-time volunteers remember seeing mustelid tracks (that's the animal family that includes two target species, weasels and marten), and they were hoping for some good tracks, and to get out of the rain down below.
Even (and perhaps especially!) for experienced trackers and naturalists, the forest is full of mysteries. It turns out this is true for wildlife, too.
Not all of them are quite as spooky as this shot of a raven taken through a fogged up camera , though. In fact, most are pretty fun. Read on to find out about some of the mysteries that did and didn't get solved in the woods this weekend.