Tuesday, August 25, 2009

ANIMAL TRACKS & SIGNS

I've been slowly learning more and more about tracking over the past several years and I really like it! I recently attended a short tracking seminar and so I thought a few tracks would make a nice nature adventure post! Here are some pictures of tracks & signs that I've collected fairly recently and a few pictures from a local seminar. I think tracking is a really amazing 'hobby'. Once you start paying attention to the little subtleties found on the ground, on branches, or in the brush, a whole different world is revealed to you. You really start paying attention to little things that you might easily have overlooked before. You start searching around for evidence that something was there and you want to know more about what it was doing, where it was going, and what it was. Tracking makes it all possible!

I've read a few books on tracking and listened to a couple of speakers talk about the 'spiritual' nature of tracking and the more I get into it, the more I understand what they mean. The tracks, the scat, and all sorts of other signs left along a trail or in the dirt are the remnants of the presence of an organism without necessarily having any physical parts of the individual remaining at the spot. Tracking reveals the 'essence' of the being. You can see what was there and how it moved, and if you are really, really, good you might be able to tell how much it weighed, whether it was sick or well, or maybe even the specific variety of a certain species. I'm definitely not a very good tracker yet, but I can tell a deer track from a raccoon from a opossum and think thats a fairly good start anyway! Oh, and I do find it harder and harder to look up from the ground when I'm walking!

So I guess I've got the tracking bug and I can't imagine not stopping to take pictures of good tracks, scat, and signs of wildlife - because it is just so cool. I love to learn about it. Here are some pictures taken at our local wildlife association meeting last week where the subject was - you guessed it - TRACKING!










Some raccoon tracks taken down by the coast last spring:






And some sort of Heron tracks were there too:









Deer tracks from the trails near my house:











Cheating by leaving a little snack out to collect some more deer tracks!:





Domestic animal tracks.....! Here is an unshod horse:

And Homo sapien (wearing shoe) over mountain bike!:


Deer Scat (which is a nice way of saying, "Poop"!):




And some evidence of antler rubs:




HAPPY TRACKING!!!

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