Got out for a short snowshoe trek this morning. Still fighting this cold so I was pretty slow. Fortunately everything else in the forest is pretty slow as well.
At the start of our hike, this sign was hidden back behind some wild roses. Bruce Walter cleared the brush away, I just hope that some of the users of the range stop and read and reflect.
I was prescouting (or maybe just scouting) the route I will do for both the Nicola Naturalist Society and the Young Naturalists that I am taking out on tracking workshops. Consequently I was on the lookout for tracks and sign of all types. The red squirrel can always be counted on for providing lots of tracks, and lots of sign.
A cache of Douglas Fir cones at the base of a tree is a good sign that a squirrel is nearby. Did you know that grizzly bears in certain areas rely on the squirrels to gather white pine cones and then, without so much as a by-your-leave they dig in and eat the squirrel’s stash of winter food.
We saw a few other tracks: coyote, grouse, weasel and a fair bit of older moose sign.
You can tell a lot from moose droppings. If the droppings have snow on them, then it is probably winter. If the droppings are wet, then it is probably raining. If the droppings are still falling then the moose is probably very close by and you should back up a bit.
Actually there is a lot to be discerned from an animal’s scat and I go into the discussion in a fair amount of detail when I do my workshops. You should join up for one, especially if people say “you don’t know sh$$!” – after one of my workshops you will be able to correct them on that one!