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.
On Saturday, a team of eight trackers went out to Little John, on the east side of the mountain. They found challenging snow conditions -- the snowpack was pretty hard, and a recent snow covered most of the tracks that were there. Nonetheless, they were able to tally quite a few squirrels and snowshoe hares, and even found tracks of a ruffed grouse that had been in the area.
They also found these tracks below, which presented two puzzles for the group. Any ideas, trackers?
While that mystery was still active up at Little John, another one was being solved down at Sandy Flats, where we've been seeing a lot of activity lately, perhaps because of the changing seasons.
Many times a camera volunteer changing out a memory card will notice that the bait carefully set three weeks before has disappeared, and wonder what took it. Well, that case is closed: we caught the culprit on camera
That's an abbreviated slideshow -- it took about 15 minutes for the cat to get the chicken loose from the chicken wire.
The tasty treat clearly made an impression, though, and probably puzzled a bobcat whose only source of poultry is usually grouse. Perhaps the cat got to wondering, does chicken grow on trees? Sadly, a return trip a few days later showed that the answer was no, and the chicken wire was still empty.
Not too far away at Sandy Flats, and only a few days later, a raven worked hard to get another piece of bait loose. Some condensation in the camera gives these images a mysterious cast.
It tried and tried, but couldn't get the bait off the tree, so eventually left. Then the camera took dozens and dozens of cloudy, seemingly empty images...
... and when the raven came back, it found the bait had disappeared. A mystery for everyone!
A closer look through all that foggy footage reveals the culprits, though. It was smaller birds, likely gray jays and at least a couple of Stellar's jays that seem to have worked the bait loose, though we couldn't pinpoint the moment it happened because of that foggy camera.
A few days later, a coyote stopped by to investigate with a quick sniff...
But it seems this canine considered the case closed, and kept on going.
Thanks for reading another edition of the Winter Weekly! Stay tuned and see what mysteries we solve and uncover next week.