Sunday, January 6, 2013

MVSTA Ecology Snowshoe Tour

Annika from MVSTA lead a group on another great naturalist snowshoe tour around the Basecamp trails Saturday morning. Come join us at the North Cascades Basecamp every Saturday from 11AM-1PM for a guided naturalist snowshoe tour. Here are some of the highlights from this week!

The group learned the difference in the front foot placement of ground dwelling hoppers, like the snowshoe hare, and tree dwelling hoppers, such as the red squirrel. Tree dwelling hoppers’ front feet land parallel to one another, while ground hoppers’ are usually staggered. 

Snowshoe hare track showing uneven front feet placement

Red squirrel tracks with parallel front and back feet placement.

We encountered the tracks of a walking animal, most likely a deer. Annika took the chance to explain how the most efficient way of moving in the snow for walking animals (felines, canines, and undulates) is to place their back foot in the track left from their front foot, leaving a track that looks as if it was created by animal with only two legs. 

Examining the tracks
Two of the people on the tour demonstrate how a
four legged animal could walk more efficiently in the
 snow by stepping into the tracks left by the front feet

We saw the zipper-like track of a mouse- a hopper that leaves a tail track.

Some lucky squirrel has found a prime dining spot. Here we can see the remnants of its pine cone feast!

In the end, we all left feeling more appreciative of nature!

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