Another Snow Day in the Wild

I’ve been working on a couple of new entries to the blog and had hoped to have them posted by now. The recent snow which came to town on January 30 closed the Museum for a few days and I haven’t had the time to complete my work.

I did, however, manage to get a few photos of some interesting happenings out on the Outdoor Exhibits trails…

Parasaurolophus with a new snow cap
The Wetlands covered with ice and snow.
The snow that covered the ice of the Wetlands is a great place to look for animal tracks. Here, a Raccoon walked across the ice and back.
These tracks are a mix of Raccoon (bottom left) and River Otter. The otter, or otters, made several passes.
A close view of the otter tracks, note the five toes.

Finding tracks in the snow is fun, but it’s fleeting. The snow that these tracks were left in are now mush, washed away by the rain.

There were many tracks in the snow on Tuesday morning (Feb 2), tracks of birds, feral cats, Gray Fox, as well as the animals depicted here in the photos. Just a few short hours later, they were all gone, vanished, as if the creatures that made them had never been there.

It’s often tracks left in the snow that alerts you to the animals in the area, their passings never being discovered if not for the snow.

The swamp between Catch the Wind and Explore the Wild.

The Groundhog which made an appearance on January 13th also came out of hiding on Groundhog Day.

Living near the edge of the swamp above, our early rising Groundhog apparently made an appearance on Groundhog Day as well (Its tracks are visible near the center/right of the photo.)
A close view of the Groundhog’s tracks at the entrance of its burrow.

Enjoy the snow while it lasts!

4 responses to Another Snow Day in the Wild

    • Greg Dodge, Ranger
      Greg Dodge, Ranger says:

      The water in Wetlands at the Museum drains into a small stream on the south side of the Wetlands. From there it flows into Ellerbe Creek which eventually flows into Falls Lake and the Nuese River. Streams, creeks and rivers are the otter’s roads.
      As I mentioned, I’ve only seen sign of otters when there is snow on the ice of the Wetlands, new tracks being seen in the morning. I believe the otters come up into the Wetlands through the culvert on the south side of the water (under the boardwalk) at night. In fact, following last year’s snowstorm of January 20, the snow around the culvert had been packed down where they had apparently slid through the grate of the culvert.

    • Greg Dodge, Ranger
      Greg Dodge, Ranger says:

      It would seem so. I haven’t seen an otter, and have only seen the tracks on two occasions when there was snow-covered ice on the Wetlands, but the tracks don’t lie (check the link that I added to the post at left – “tracks left in the snow”). The snow reveals quite a bit about who’s wandering around out in “The Wild” when we’re not there to see it.

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