Of Maples, Tracks and Scat.....
We tapped some of the sugar maple trees where I work two weeks ago and have been reaping the benefits of a very successful sap run so far. My part in the Maple Sugaring Experience at my workplace is an interpretive hike covering the history of sugaring and modern methods used to gather sap.
I include general information on tapping trees (minimum size, hole depth, equipment, etc.) as well and the trail we use for the hike has some nice, mature sugar maples growing alongside it.
Yesterday was our big public event. Even though it was very cold and windy, the other naturalist and myself were busy leading hikes most of the afternoon. My personal highlight had nothing to do with maple sugaring however! During a bit of downtime between groups, I strolled along the beginning of my hike route to try and keep warm. As is my habit, I began scanning the ground and saw a perfect front and hindfoot print from a raccoon! A little further along I found a fresh pile of coyote scat (chock full of white-tailed deer hair...evidently it had scavenged a road killed animal from the nearby 4 lane)!
I know it seems like I'm always raphsodising about animal droppings...but hey, it's a naturalist thing!
(who WILL return to regular posts for the rest of '09!)