Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Colorful Mountain Landscapes

John Adams, northwest watercolorist spent a day here at the North Cascades Basecamp teaching a watercolor workshop on Sunday, Feb 19th.  John's demonstration illustrated how to use a colorful backwash and blending of paints to create a magical winter scene.  The aspen trees, the mountain backdrop, and even the snow in the foreground seemed to come alive on the palette.

The group spent for latter 3 hours creating their own magic with these techniques in mind. 
 Great work everyone!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Who walks there?

We observed these tracks on a sunny afternoon near Winthrop, passing through some open fields.  We followed the tracks for a ways on our skis, watching where the animal turned, stopped for a moment registering all four feet, and excavated a rodent hole in the snow. 

A few details about these tracks which were easily noted with the snow conditions:  i) direct register of hind and front feet in a walking pattern across the snow, ii) tracks are pigeon-toed, iii) 5 toes on the front feet and rear feet with 1 inch long claws, iv) front foot size of 2 1/2 inches both vertically and horizontally, v) walking stride about 12 inches.  This foot morphology reflects a digging lifestyle of the animal (nails& pigeon toes).  Finding two excavations through three feet of snow down to the dirt was another clue.  Who was it?

It's A Badger!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Weaseling Around

We caught the culprit!  After 8 chickens down, boarding up the coop to no avail, and bringing the chickens indoors for a few days (into the unfinished sunroom), we will finally have chicken peace at the Basecamp at least for a while.  This weasel was live trapped in the coop and relocated to another section of the valley, over 8 miles from Mazama, and far from chickens and human settlement.  We hope she likes her new home. 

We determined this animal to be a female long-tailed weasel.  She was shockingly small for all the damage she had done.  Our rough measurements of her in the trap were, body 20cm long, tail 10cm, total length 30cm.

The differences we learned about long tailed weasels and a short tailed weasels are:
*Long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata) tail is about half the length of their body or longer (44-70%).  Their total length is between 28-42 cm. 
*Short-tailed weasel (Mustela erminea) tail is about a third (30-45%) of its body length.  Their total length is between 19-34 cm.  Females are smaller than males for both species due to sexual dimorphism; some overlap exists between male short-tailed and female long-tailed weasels.