Tracking Mystery Answers

1. This track is the heel print of a hoof-like running shoe.

2. It’s amazing how a spray of sand from spinning tires can obscure a track. We puzzled over this one for a few minutes until finding a clearer track further up the four-runner trail:

Wild Turkey Tracks (June 2014)

Wild Turkey Tracks (June 2014)

3. We set up a Trail Cam and were we ever surprised to catch this handsome guy on camera!

As seen by the Trail Cam.

As seen by the Trail Cam.

And yes, it is April 1st! Happy April Fool’s Day everyone:)

“We began as a mineral. We emerged into plant life and into the animal states, and then into being human, and always we have forgotten our former states, except in early spring when we slightly recall being green again.”

— Rumi, The Dream That Must Be Interpreted

4. This set of tracks was made by a snowshoe hare.  However, I cannot honestly say how they were made.  It’s one of those bizarre tracking moments.  If you have any ideas, please let me know:)

5. Hopefully, you spotted (in order of appearance) a snowshoe hare track, a red squirrel track and then a grouse trail.

6. This track was made by a bounding Pine Marten.  The marten tracks followed a similar-looking Snowshoe Hare trail.  I will attach both photos for you to compare.  Very similar!

Pine Marten tracks (Algonquin Park, February 2015)

Pine Marten tracks (Algonquin Park, February 2015)

Snowshoe Hare Tracks (Algonquin Park, February 2015)

Snowshoe Hare Tracks (Algonquin Park, February 2015)

*Note the small front feet of the snowshoe hare.

7.  Red Squirrel Trailing in Deep Snow

Red Squirrel Track in Deep Snow (Algonquin Park, February 2015)

Red Squirrel Track in Deep Snow (Algonquin Park, February 2015)

In the above photo, is the red squirrel travelling to the right or to the left? While tracking with Dan Gardoqui in Algonquin Park, he suggested finding three reasons to determine the direction of travel or the identity of an animal from a track. In the above photo, there is “snow spray” to the right of the track. The snow spray falls off of an animal as it is travelling in a forward motion. I have observed this for myself when walking in deep snow. As the squirrel bounds, the rear feet swing around and land just outside of the front feet. The rear feet register as drag marks behind and to the outside of the track. The front feet take off for the next leap and the front drag marks are closer to the middle of the trail. There is also a tail drag that is visible as the third line on the left-hand side of the photo. The direction of travel is to the right.

 

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