Animal Tracks on the Ice
It’s 20 degrees here. I had a wonderful dog walk on the frozen lake to the east of me. It’s about 40 acres of long, slender bays. It is held in place by three large beaver dams, one of which blocks a narrow ravine that drops 9’ in a short distance.
Last week we had a thaw with rain and then the drop to -40 wind chill so the lake ice is smooth and slick. There is a powdering of fresh snow over the ice and there hasn’t been wind since the snow. The lake is a canvas for animal tracks – white snow and dark ice. Every animal that walked on the lake for the past two days left perfect prints.
The coolest were a flock of wild turkeys’ tracks. You could imagine that their bony splayed toes and claws belonged to velociraptors.
A couple of raccoons left trails like little human hands. This one was moving fast – loping along. See the distance between the paired pawprints.
Mika found an active mouse burrow which was surrounded by miniature trails. Owls eat field mice like popcorn. I didn’t see any trail that ended in a blur of owl feathers – a common sight in new snow. Sometimes a few drops of blood in the snow, sometimes a feather.
The biggest tracks were left by a large buck deer. Huge cleft footprints. He had been running a zigging pattern across the ice and slipped once when he turned, but didn’t fall. I didn’t see wolf tracks following him so I have no idea why he was running around. Hope he was just enjoying being a big buck deer.