Taking a Walk Through the Fields

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From our vantagepoint, we can clearly see the expanse of all of our fields.  I noticed that we have many tracks going across the fields, so I thought I’d have a look.

After the thaw last week, the snow as a perfect weight-bearing crust.  We can walk with ease across all of our land.  Atop the crust is the lightest dusting of snow, the perfect medium for tracks.    Even better, our land never lacks for a slight breeze, so it is very evident which tracks are one or two days old.  After that, they are fully obscured.

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The tracks I followed, with a size medium glove for scale.

Yesterday, I noted some tracks coming from the northwest of the property.  Two canid tracks, heading southwest.  I followed them, intent to determine if the tracks were dog or coy-wolf.  I would much rather they were coy-wolf tracks than loose dogs, as we’ve already dealt with enough dogs for a lifetime.   Coy-wolves are possibly more dangerous to the sheep, but are predictable in their behavior.  The tracks beelined to a brushy area and then sniffed around there.  A urine mark was evident beside a tall clump of grass and then the tracks proceeded south-southeast.

Following along, I could see that the dog/coywolf tracks took an interest in some deer tracks.  I took an interest in the deer tracks, too.  Following their trails, I came upon two deer beds.  Notice the perfect leg-prints.  The deer have kept to the field edges, wandering around where stray, ancient apple trees drop a few fruit.  Seeing them, I thought I’d give some of our apple trees a shake to let down some of the remaining hanging apples.

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A deer bed.

Rejoining the canine tracks, I continued to observe their straight trajectory.  More and more suggestive of coywolf-tracks.   Finally, a scat and a urine spot told me that this was a female, subsisting on fuzzy animals based on the grey fur evident in the scat.  Some internet friends were already thinking coywolf.  The couple left the property at the middle of the south boundary.  I’m glad we were able to identify the species.  I know to have an eye out for trouble now.

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Friends, I give you: A Coyote or Coy-wolf Butt-print with a tail drag.

Other tracks observed on the property include turkey, rabbit, various little scurriers, and the small wingbeats of a bluejay near the chicken coop.   I’m looking forward to taking more walks and learning more about the animal activities happening on our land.

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Turkey, two ways.

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A wee little hopping bird on our deck.

 

 

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