Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Winter Eco Days #2 & #3

Yesterday was the second day of my Winter Ecology course and OH MY! Very busy indeed. We awoke in the morning, had breakfast and started our day off with some round table discussion of our individual group projects. Mady from Wild Wings and Mendon Ponds Park with Mady! and I are working together...and because I have so much I want to share today, I won't get into our project today.

Mady and I spent alot of time on our wildlife Christmas tree! We "repurposed" her family's tree, and decorated it with wildlife friendly treats!

It is truly beautiful! How lucky are our squirrel and bird friends?! We do have a camera trap set on the tree, but so luck.

Sometime in the morning, we noticed this nice line of tracks running along the backside of our cars.

Perhaps coyote?

Next on the list was to get our supplies together for our small mammal trapping studies. If you'd like some more background information, see my previous blog entry: A Beautiful Morning at the East Hill Campus... Below is our bin with supplies.

Our bait selections from L-->R:
Peanutbutter/"critter feed", sardines/wet cat food/tuna, and jelly/honey/molasses/oats.

The setup. We have 12 of these set up and are checking them every 2-3 hours.

The following are some of the results!!!

Here I am learning to "process" an organism. Processing includes: weighing, sexing, identifying, and then ear tagging.

Here's what the tags look like before they're attached to the animals ear.

Concentrating hard on properly extracting the animal from the trap...

Success! We use plastic bags so that we can see the animal clearly. The animal spends a minute or less in the unsealed bag, so no harm is done.

This little friend is a Deer Mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus)

Preparing the ear tag...YES it probably hurts, but it does not majorly impact the animals everyday movements and behaviors. It is used to ID an animal if it is caught again in the future. FYI this little mouse #12 WAS caught again this evening in the same trap!


And this picture concludes day #2. A beautiful full moon peaking out of the clouds above Old Mother Willow...peaceful.

And now it's getting late...and I have an early morning of check flying squirrel traps tomorrow, so I will just post some highlight pictures from day #3!

Sean, Anthony, and I preparing a "Hav-a-Heart" trap. Target: The Mink.

Here's the cozy little camoflaged mink trap complete with alpaca wool for warmth and some Kishel's weasel scent to attract!

Professor Mr. Krager taste testing a black birch (it tastes like wintergreen!)

A scenic overlook at the Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Park.
A truly GORGEOUS Upstate January afternoon.

And finally, Madeline and I in front of this beautiful place.
I am very lucky to have gotten to know this lovely lady and call her my dear friend!

Until tomorrow...and the adventures will continue!

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