Friday, November 9, 2012 Tracks in the snow

I love the fresh snow, a new surface for beautiful patterns, delightful designs, and for animals to illustrate their stories with tracks.

After our first light snowfall a few days ago, the wind cranked up and blew away all the uncompacted snow. Dog tracks, boot tracks, and vehicle tracks stood out in positive relief against the bare pavement. Who knew a vehicle could draw graceful, calligraphy just by backing up and turning around? I was only sorry that I discovered them when the light was ebbing; they were covered the next day.

The new, wet snow erased the old designs and prepared the surface for the next art show and chapter-a-day. It was so much fun to actually see tracks that the good dog smells. This morning I found feral rabbit tracks bounding across the alley, busy red squirrel tracks hurrying under the spruce trees, and tiny precise cat prints methodically checking out my yard. Grrr!

At noon, I found dainty coyote tracks, half the size of my dog's, patrolling the beach next to the beach rye grass; scurrying vole tracks zig-zagged away. A weasel leapt along the footpath, leaving neat sets of paw prints. Hopping songbirds gleaning wind-tossed seeds stitched a crazy quilt in the snow.  Webbed footprints from Glaucous-winged gulls strode confidently along the mud at low tide.

Imagine my surprise this evening when I discovered two sets of barefoot prints sprinting down the street! Ah, kids!

One never knows what to expect when reading the stories in the snow!

Happy tracking!
Carol Griswold
Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

PS. Robin C reported seeing a KINGFISHER at the Mile 3 Stash and Store pond; about an hour later, I heard one rattling in town. This species has been very hard to find this year. Eight ROBINS reported in a Mt Ash in town; they may spend the winter since they haven't left yet.

Ava reported the juvenile CEDAR WAXWING has not been seen since yesterday. Watch for it in town with the Robins.

Yesterday at Lowell Point, Robin C and I saw two pairs of MARBLED MURRELETS in winter plumage diving near shore, another species with low numbers.  BARROW'S GOLDENEYE numbers are building; their wings whistle musically when they fly.

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