Thursday, October 20, 2011

A new species Spotted at the Oregon Dunes

Thanks to Guest Instructor Laura Gunion for the following post and photos:

Foggy morning on the Dunes. Air is wet and cool. Walking along I see acrystal clear fresh perfect trail of a small animal bounding across the damp sand. The following are some of the thoughts in my head. Probably good for my ego that I kept them to myself.

"Whoa! These tracks are perfect! Plaster cast for sure! People always say they see squirrel tracks and I've never seen them here before. I can't believe a squirrel is running from the forest all of the way out to the Tree Island.  Why? This is pretty cool. Wow, they look *really* weird in the sand.  It's going so fast that the front feet aren't even beside each other. The toes are so round. Huh, is this a different kind of squirrel?! The proximal pads are kinda small for a Douglas Squirrel.  Hmmm. This is weird....Wait.. What??! The front feet have 5 toes!! and the back feet have proximal pads -  What?! those look like back feet, but they can't be!  What the #!*% is going on?!"

 My total confusion lasted several more seconds before I started to piece together a new story
of who this critter actually was.  As far as I know, this was the first time that tracks of this species has been spotted at the Dunes.  Interestingly, we trailed this animal the following 2 days.

Do you know who this was?

Have you ever seen one running across sand dunes?

Post your thoughts here. We will put up ours in a couple of weeks!

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