Monday, January 22, 2007

Snow Is For Tracking

Color me frustrated. I tried several times to photograph this set of tracks -- different angles, different times of day. No luck; it took extreme PhotoShopping to bring out the footprints above. May I describe what I saw? Mystery #1 is that the tracks (which are small) appeared from out of nowhere in the middle of the snow. Mystery #2: the feet were together at the spot where the tracks started and it looked as though whoever/whatever it was had dragged his tail. The closer the tracks came to my pyracantha bush, the more separated the prints from each foot were. My speculation: a robin landed, hopped a bit and then walked to its favorite berry bush. But this is sheer guesswork! (FYI: I have one friend whose resident robin regularly gets drunk on older pyracantha berries that have gone alcoholic.)

Fact is, unless I have wee marsupial-type critters in my yard, I would guess that many of the tracks I saw today were made by birds. Like those above. I didn't see anything that looks like mouse or chipmunk trails and those are the only small mammals hereabouts. A little disappointing. (And yes, I did consult with The Google to back up my theorizing.)

This is another set of tracks, even smaller, looking like a small bird was hopping along.

On the other hand, there's no question about who made these much larger hoof prints: that javelina family of four which seems to have moved into the immediate neighborhood.

But then I didn't need hoof prints to tell me javelina have been around. For your information, the Internet is loaded with pictures and references on animal scat. Even better, you can buy your own replicas for the coffee table at under $10 a pop here.

Note Two Days Later: As the snow has melted (not entirely), it turns out that the set of tracks #1 at the top of this post did not appear out of nowhere, but came from under the car. Now I'm thinking that maybe it was one of the local chipmunks after all.


Anonymous said...

You can buy your own replicas for the coffee table at under $10 a pop.

That tickled my funny bone. I like your track pictures.

Granny J said...

We aim to please, Steve. It's warming up slightly -- maybe I'll get away from the homestead & get a little more variety in the pictures. Right now, I'm tired of too little snow hanging around too long because it's a tad too cold.

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