01-10-14 Field Note

Beau Larkin's note follows the path of several coyotes that explored MPG North.

Posted on 1/13/2014 by Beau Larkin

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Reed Canarygrass
At least three medium-sized carnivores left trails across MPG North this morning. Warm temperatures and snow throughout the day obscured the tracks, except under trees where they retained identifiable characteristics.
The tracks fit within typical dimensions for a coyote (inset), but few showed nail impressions. Coyotes’ thin and short nails don’t always register, and I searched for some time to find this evidence and confirm my track identification (red arrows show nail imprints).
The tracks crossed over the west boundary (red arrows) and one set circled around several elk beds in Cooney Meadow (red star). A set of tracks broke off (orange arrow) and I lost them amidst deer tracks on the south road. North of Entrance Marsh, the tracks appeared again. The tracks crossed the northeast hill of Entrance Meadow and continued on across the road. This marks our first observation of a carnivore crossing this open area.
The coyotes dug and stuffed noses under the snow, into the rotting timothy and sedges. Many rodents probably survive on timothy seeds over the winter.
Near Home Pond, blood appeared in the coyote’s track. The bleeding stopped after a few dozen yards. I found no evidence of what cut the coyote’s foot.
Reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea) seedheads and stalks in Cooney Meadow looked grazed; probably by elk (red star).
A thin spot in the ice over Cooney Creek melted and exposed the creek below. In this long-time exposure image, a slight ripple in the creek looks like smoke passing across the dark background.