Monday, January 9, 2012

Winter Eco Day #1

Well folks, I have a few minutes of downtime today on my first day of my Winter Ecology course. We are located in the BEAUTIFUL South Honeoye Valley in the Finger Lakes. This morning when I started my field journal this morning the temperature was 29F and it was SUNNY!

The picture on the right I took last night, and the other picture I took this morning. This is a small pond in front of the house at the field station.

Today's activities included everyone arriving this morning, introductions, a brief lecture on tracking and then we went out for a nature walk! In the essence of time, I'm leaving out much of what we talked about. I do have a ton of neat pictures though!

 Unidentified bird nest with bits of rope or a maybe shredded tarp?

Looking for sign at the channel boat launch.

 2x2 side trot of a red fox

Walking along the channel path. What. A. Day!

Gray squirrel bounding...

Red fox

 The track line above belongs to a mink. Notice the 2x2 bounding and the drag. Also, the location- on the water! The track below belongs to our red fox. We followed his trail a long ways today.

Close up of a coyote print.

 Racoon front tracks.

The ambling walk of the racoon.

Instructor of the course, Clinton Krager, pointing out some tracks.
Unidentified bird tracks.

Gray squirrel tracks.

We followed the mink tracks to this den! Some of my classmates set a camera trap near this site to hopefully confirm our suspicions of it belonging to the mink!

Little red squirrel chipping away at us!

We had a great walk. Even though we STILL don't have much (ANY) snow in Upstate NY, we enjoyed to warm temps and sunshine.

After our walk we came back to the house and split up into groups. Over the next 5 days we will be conducting mini field studies using small mammal traps to collect whatever we can catch. I will write more in depth after the class is over.

We also deployed 6 camera traps (my new one that I'm using my for research this spring) for fun to see what we get! My personal hopes are river otter. Just over a year ago, I took another course at the field station "Wetland Mammals" and one group of students caught this picture!

3 river otter! Once almost completely extirpated from NY, they are now back due to some heavy rehabilitation and restoration. There was another sighting just 3 days ago here of another (or perhaps the same?) 3 otters. We shall see.

Until next time!


  1. Very cool Alyssa...we don't have a lot of snow...but just enough to be able to really see some great tracks1

    1. Yes, it was awesome! Who is this mystery blog-commenter :) ???


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