THIS IS SPRING?
As you can see, we had another storm over the weekend - first snow, then sleet and rain. We did get a final dusting of snow which provided a rare opportunity for tracking. I had fun finding four deer beds under a large pine on Joe's Head. I will remember to show you that tree because it is near Head Beach. The deer are on the move these days. There are lots of tracks to follow.

These tracks caught my attention behind the bath house on Western Reach. It was fun following them - sometimes it looked as if a wing had been dragged, and here and there would be a dropping of scat. These are the careful stepping of a Ruffed Grouse. Pretty soon these birds will be drumming to signal to a mate. I can't wait for that sound that rivals the start up of an engine! That is my mitten, placed to show a size comparison. Grouse usually find an evergreen with low branches to hunker down, sort of like the deer. I remember one time following these tracks that led to a hollow depression where the bird had spent the night. Before leaving, it defecated a pile of scat in the hole!

Near these bird tracks, were those of a mammal I would guess to be a mink. These tracks didn't seem to make note of the grouse, but did end up under the bath house where it may have sought overnight protection. These are delicate prints showing five toes. In the picture, you will also see smaller sets of squirrel tracks, and again my glove for size comparison.

Another benefit from the recent snowfall was being able to observe more birdnests. Having a mound of white snow on the nest, made them more visible as you walked the trails. This small one was right along side a path to Sanddune Beach, and I would bet it remained unobserved by passersby. It was neatly made of thin fibrous plant material, not more than two feet off the ground.

I also found a large fibrous squirrel nest that had blown down from a Spruce Tree. I wondered if something was still inside that well insulated housing. I pulled it apart, but nothing jumped out. I have actually found mice sleeping in birdnests under a cover they had created. So, you never know. I feel sure that all the material in that squirrel nest could be recycled into three or four bird nests, so I placed it back in a tree where it was visible.

The draining of the lobster pound may come before the week is out. We are having extremely low tides (notice in that top picture how you could walk into the Bath Tub?!), and that helps in removing the remaining lobsters from their overwintering site. I can't wait, and hope to share pictures of that activity. I may even don boots and help pick up those crustaceans! Want to come help?
3/21/07 Unspringlike Ronnie.