Winter Tracks

Snow is like a white page on which animals write their stories. In winter we can sometimes read their comings and goings in a way that is extraordinarily clear. Here is a sampling of the tracks that have crossed our part of the woodlands over the winter months.

Fresh bobcat tracks intersect an older cottontail trail beside the horse paddocks. T he rabbit was traveling toward the viewer. These tracks belong to the larger of two bobcats who share these woods and fields and sometimes travel together.

Fresh bobcat tracks intersect an older cottontail trail beside the horse paddocks. The rabbit was traveling toward the viewer. These tracks belong to the larger of two bobcats who share these woods and fields and sometimes travel together.

The day after we began our maple syrup project, big bobcat passed through and explored each tree we had tapped. Here bobcat pauses on its haunches (facing away from the viewer).

The day after we began our maple syrup project, big bobcat passed through and explored each tree we had tapped. Here bobcat pauses on its haunches (facing away from the viewer).

Canine, most likely a coyote. The coyotes are as active as the bobcats all winter and sometimes travel in groups. I've seen the bobcat a handful of times, but the coyotes remain elusive.

Canine, most likely a coyote. The coyotes are as active as the bobcats all winter and sometimes travel in groups. I've seen the bobcat a handful of times, but the coyotes remain elusive.

Bounding track of a squirrel, travelling away from the viewer. Smaller front feet are followed by the larger back feet. Their tracks resemble rabbit, but the squirrel's front feet usually land relatively parallel, while the rabbit's front feet typically fall with one in front of the other (see this cottontail pattern in the first photo above).

Bounding track of a squirrel, travelling away from the viewer. Smaller front feet are followed by the larger back feet. Their tracks resemble rabbit, but the squirrel's front feet usually land relatively parallel, while the rabbit's front feet typically fall with one in front of the other (see this cottontail pattern in the first photo above).

Raptor wing prints (center) intersect the trail of a small rodent, likely a mouse (top of page)

Raptor wing prints (center) intersect the trail of a small rodent, likely a mouse (top of page)

Deer were absent from our part of the forest for about 8 weeks when the snows became too deep. This track appeared on March 12th, followed a few days later by the reappearance of turkey and raccoon.

Deer were absent from our part of the forest for about 8 weeks when the snows became too deep. This track appeared on March 12th, followed a few days later by the reappearance of turkey and raccoon.

Splayed deer track showing dew claws (deer is traveling away from the viewer)

Splayed deer track showing dew claws (deer is traveling away from the viewer)

Turkey. A few warm days after this photo was taken, the entire lowland forest was crisscrossed with turkey prints.

Turkey. A few warm days after this photo was taken, the entire lowland forest was crisscrossed with turkey prints.

Racoon makes his reappearance. Spring is coming!

Racoon makes his reappearance. Spring is coming!