|Fog envelops the conservation area behind Lake Wicwas|
It has been, as the saying goes, good weather for ducks; a few Mergansers appeared on the lake to prove the point. It looks like a group of two males and one female.
Later in the week, when the sun did come out for moment, a lone female Hooded Merganser stopped by the lake to do some fishing on her way to her winter home.
|Female Hooded Merganser|
Both the male and female of this species are quite striking and always a treat to see. The inland hunting season for ducks ends today; I hope she made it - I heard gun shots this morning!
Although I didn't see much other wildlife - no owls this week - I did come across lots of their signs, showing I was on the right path. Here are some of the signs the animals scattered around Lake Wicwas this week.
|Coyote scat showing lots of fur|
Coyote scat, two flavors, one rather large, and exhibiting somewhat different diets.
|Large coyote scat with more vegetation|
Next, scat from one of the coyote's winter prey, a white tail deer, and again two versions indicating the varied diet as the season changes from lush summer foliage to dry, winter forage.
|Summer foliage produces soft, clumped scat|
|Dry winter feed produces the more recognizable deer droppings|
More scat - this is from a bird - probably last week's Barred Owl, as it was not sprayed out over a long area as a hawk would do, but rather dropped straight down by an owl.
And finally, some small trees with their bark recently chewed by a porcupine fattening up in case winter ever arrives.
|Porcupine teeth marks are horizontal (deer marks are larger and vertical)|
You can find this if you walk on the lower-ledges section of the Red Trail in the Hamlin-Eames-Smyth conservation area. But be warned, the heavy rains and wind have taken down some trees and re-routed some of the streams near the Maple Grove.
|Tree down across the Red trail north of the maple grove|
|New stream route and erosion|
Soon the trail crew will have it cleaned up. This week they were working to clear out drainages along the Beaver Loop (Blue) trails.
|Meredith Conservation Commission members ensuring the trails will drain this winter and next spring|
Dave Anderson published a nice article titled "How to See More Wildlife" on the Society for the Protection of NH Forests website; he gave permission to link it here. Click here to see his suggestions for the next time you head out into the woods.