Sunday, March 17, 2013

March 17, 2013

After our short spring interlude, winter returned to Lake Wicwas with cold temperatures - back down to 13 degress last night under clear skies and a crescent moon.  And another light snow came through and made it look like winter too!

Fresh Spring Snow Friday Night
And Bright March Sunshine on Saturday

The new snow wasn't enough to penetrate the trees and allow skiing in the woods after last week's rain devastated the base, but it left another perfect surface for both skiing and tracking on the lake.  There were numerous mink, weasel, mouse and fox tracks to be seen.  Here a pair of coyotes traveled right across the middle of the lake and along the shore line, heading into a low swampy area.
Coyotes On the Prowl
The larger foot print and stride - about 24" - distinguishes it from a fox.

The fox stride by comparison is about 16 inches long.  This near perfect rendering of a fox's side trotting pattern very was left in the very thin layer of soft snow early Saturday morning. 
Fox  Side Trotting

 A mouse also left some clear tracks in the light snow.  The tiny size of these tracks, only about two inches apart, can be appreciated by the small line in the snow left by its tail.
Mouse Tracks on the Lake

In some deeper snow where the sun had softened it just the right amount, we came across some deer tracks that left the imprint of the hoofed animal's dewclaws, which I don't see very often.  
White Tailed Deer Track with Visible Dewclaw Imprints

All in all, it's been a pretty uneventful winter around the lake without any dramatic events - the most interesting sights being a Cooper's Hawk and a Bald Eagle in late February.  But all the snow has made it a great winter for animal tracking, and lots of other outdoor activity.
Signs of a Good Day on Lake Wicwas

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