Preying Predators

weasel tracks

It took me many years to understand the patterns of mammal tracks. Sometimes they still confuse me, although as I often say, when I’m alone I’m 100% correct.

weasel 1

I noticed these weasel tracks when I was about to climb over a stone wall. One print is slightly behind the other, which is typical of the Mustelidae family.

weasel hole

And then I found this hole in the snow covering the stone wall. The weasel tracks led directly to it. A warm home? An entrance to life among the rocks? A weasel’s diet includes mice and other small rodents, e.g. squirrels and shrews. I know that red squirrels frequent the area and often use the tree on the left as a feeding site.

mouse tracks

Look what else I found by the stone wall. A mouse hole and tracks.

bounding deer

Continuing on, I came across the deep pattern of a deer that had bounded through the snow a couple of days ago. The afternoon light makes it difficult to see, but I put my trusty six-inch ruler down for perspective.

deer traffic light

I have to wonder if there is a traffic director who determines which way the deer should travel. This was one of many intersections.

coyote

And then I found coyote tracks. I was in snowshoe hare territory when I first noticed these. It had walked on snowshoe tracks I made previously. I remember years ago thinking when I found mammal tracks on mine that the predator was stalking me. Now I know better . . . I think. It’s taking advantage of the trail I’ve already packed so it doesn’t waste energy, especially in this deep snow. Animals will use the trails of other animals as well.

Now for a couple of fun photos.

snow face

A snow face. Looks rather like an ogre.

stump topper

Followed by a stump topper.

reflection

And then the sun’s subtle reflection silhouetting the red maples as I approached home.

Yet again, you’ve wondered along with me and I appreciate it.