There aren't many activities I enjoy more than simply prowling around the forest and meadows, looking for signs of animal action. Sometimes I go solo; when I'm lucky, I have a companion or two. All this recent sunshine has enticed me out several times.
The many species of willow are subject to chewing, nibbling, gnawing, and poking by a huge variety of consumers. Here are just of few of the complex interactions.
Hard snow in late January and early February made it easy to cruise around the forest on or off the regular trails.
While I was reading about earthworms recently, I got to thinking about ice worms, which I'd heard about over the years. I wanted to learn more.
January brought us unseasonably warm temperatures and lots of rain. The once-lovely snow turned first crusty and then punky and rotten.
This winter I'm seeing snowshoe hare tracks very commonly, in a variety of locations. Sometimes, repeated travels created well-packed hare highways through the brush.
What do animals do when they are frightened? They increase vigilance, scanning their surroundings with all available senses. Some "freeze" in hopes that immobility renders them invisible. Some hide, in the best available cover. And some run.
One day after a nice little snowfall, I ambled out to Point Louisa in Auke Bay. The usual squads of harlequin ducks sallied out from the rocks or poked along the boulders.
I enjoy watching birds at my feeders, and this year I have a whole family of chestnut-backed chickadees that have been here since spring.
I love to go a-wandering along a snowy trail, looking for signs left by others who've been out on their business of living.
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