Sunday, January 8, 2012

January 8, 2012

One can hardly call it "snow", but Lake Wicwas did receive a dusting on Friday morning.  Not enough to do much of anything but cover up the ice to prevent what otherwise would have been some pretty good skating.  The ice is 8 inches thick about 20 feet out from shore, but I would still be careful farther out considering there was open water only ten days ago. 

Mink Tracks
The snow did provide a good opportunity to find out what animals have been traveling around the lake.  Of course we found lots of squirrel tracks eveywhere, but we also found a long trail of weasel tracks traveling a great distance on the ice right around the edge of the lake - most certainly a mink, as it investigated holes in the ice at the edge of the lake.  Fisher usually spend more time in the woods.  This efficient hunter left the distinct tracks of a member of the weasel family; the uniform spacing of the tracks is also indicative a mink.  Note also the numerous track of squirrels close to shore, which surely would become the mink's lunch if they had met up with each other.

Crow Tracks

We also found many crow tracks along the shore of lake, where they were looking for food themselves.  But had the mink found them, it would have had fresh poultry for its lunch in addition to squirrel meat.  The mink tracks went right by the crow tracks - it certainly knows where to find food.

Up on shore we found giant piles of pine cone remains at the bottom of each trunk in a uniform stand of large white pines. 
Red Squirrel Midden Pile
The red squirrels sit with their back against the tree to protect being attacked from behind, and feast on the seeds in the cones, leaving large piles of scales and shafts behind.

Finally, we found the largest beaver tree we've seen all fall. 
This tree was quite an undertaking - it makes we wonder why they did 90% of the work and then left the tree behind.  Perhaps a mink walked by?

1 comment:

  1. Very cool. I've been checking this blog for about 5 months now and am always excited to read the new post on Sundays. I love Lake Wicwas and like to see how it is during the off season. Keep up the good work!