Here we are into December, and I'm behind the 8 ball. We had our first snow on 12/6/10 with an accumulation of about two inches. It is quite cold, however, so those inches should remain and make tracking a definite possibility. Luckily, we didn't get the heavy snow that more northern and eastern part of Maine received. I welcome snow, but not bitter cold and am hesitant to venture out just yet. We did have a couple of very low tides in late afternoon which always are a draw for me. I walked out onto the wet sand at Totman Cove hoping to find sea life still hanging around. It is always interesting to observe which animals are still surviving the cold water and air on low tides. I found one Moon Snail and more Sea Stars than I usually find in that cove. Most were stranded and upside down, so I would return them gently to the cover of water. Under rocks, there were many Amphipods that would wiggle and squirm to seek cover. I found no live Sanddollars or Lobsters, but did dig a couple of Surf Clams. Digging for clams in frigid sand is not fun, guess I need rubber gloves.
In the picture to the right, all bathing in a clam shell filled with water, are a Moon Snail (withdrawn into its shell), a small Sea Star, a clump of Bread Crumb Sponge and several Amphipods. The picture above developed as I was leaving the cove. It was about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The days are very short these days with sun rising at about 7AM and setting around 4PM.
I took advantage of the snow cover to do some tracking. At first I followed what I think were fox tracks. They seemed to go from campsite to campsite as they made the rounds looking for something to eat. I found no evidence of any dining, but enjoyed other tracks of mice and tunnels of voles. Deer tracks were everywhere. I made my way up to Western Reach where a latrine usually has porcupines underneath. I found their tracks going in different directions, perhaps to a pool of water to drink, or maybe just looking for the right tree to climb and feed upon. It wasn't easy following their tracks since the snow was not a complete cover and I would lose track of the trail. If that happened, I would look above to see if the porcupine had climbed a tree. It was hard to figure out this activity since it seemed to me there were lots of trees to pick from. I never did find the porky's destination as I made my way across the island. These tracks are rather easy to distinguish since the animal leaves a wide trail, as if dragging their body. There were places where I could make out the paw marks. The hind paws are large and have a distinct pad, while the forepaws are smaller. In the picture to the left, The tracks lead, perhaps from a home under the Sou'wester east over Western Reach. The best tracking is done just after a light snow, before wind and sun can affect the pattern. 12/8/10 Ronnie on the move.