Tuesday, September 11, 2012

First Tracking Intensive Weekend 2012

September 1st and 2nd marked the first Tracking Intensive weekend for 2012. Ten students met on Saturday for introductions and an orientation of the year to come, then began lectures on track characteristics by family, sketching and journaling tracks, and track terminology. The students ranged in experience from novice to advanced.

In the afternoon we went into the field with the task of finding a deer which led to an interesting discussion of where and how to search for them in a Western Washington lowland forest. Groups found deer browse, and tracks from deer and Bobcat, but no deer. Where would they be on the landscape in the mid-afternoon? One group found some interesting eggs placed down a ~1/2 inch hole in the forest duff. Do you recognize them? They were about the size of green peas but opaque white.

Eggs found a few inches underground. Do you know what they are?
On Sunday we had a field evaluation to see what knowledge students were entering the program with. These evaluations are inspiring because they illuminate how much there is to learn about tracking in the Pacific Northwest. The questions that were asked included spoor from Mink, Old World Rat, North American River Otter, American Robin, Spotted Sandpiper, Killdeer, Stiletto Fly, Deer Mouse, Black-tailed Deer, Bullfrog, Coyote, Muskrat, American Beaver, bat, and Domestic Dog. We also got great looks and pictures of 2 to 3 Long-tailed Weasels along a stream. It was a greatly educational and fun first month of Tracking Intensive. Here's to many more! -DG
 Long-tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata)

Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) left front and left hind tracks on a rock
River Otter (Lontra canadensis) tracks in a 3x4 lope