BEAT Tracking Club at April Hill

Saturday’s April Hill Transect yielded a nice assortment of tracks and sign. We were blessed with spring-like rays of sunshine and a quality tracking substrate of packing snow.

Starting across fields grazed by goats during the warmer months, we encountered red fox tracks, sometimes breaking through the top layer of snow, sometimes staying on top of it, great long cottontail leaps, and several vintages of coyote tracks. Along the Appalachain Trail we came across a red fox that had leaped over an electric fence about two and half to three feet tall as well as some bird tracks that we struggled to identify in the field. The bird tracks were two inches long which is about half the length of a crow track and still smaller than the track of a mourning dove (2.6 in via google images). I’m thinking a groundfeeding Junco is a good bet, despite the fact the tracks indicated it was walking rather than hopping. I’m interested to hear theories or at least get pointed in the direction of a good bird tracking resource!

Entering into the woods we encountered several sets of deer and coyote tracks moving north to south, parallel with a brook. At one point, while traveling parallel to the brook, we literally scared the scat out of a turkey–it flew away leaving wing imprints and a spray of reddish scat across the snow.

We inched along the outer bounds of a manmade pond–now colonized phragmites and cattail–finding raccoon, weasel, deer and turkey tracks as well as several curiously lemony-sweet smelling bushes that we later realized were spicebushes.

Doubling back, due south across the Appalachian Trail, and again paralleling the brook, we discovered porcupine nip twigs beneath a grove of hemlocks, more turkey, raccoon, and deer tracks as well as bear marks on an ancient sugar maple and a younger birch.

Running out of time, we weren’t able to circle around the larger wetland, we’ll have to return for that!