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Monday, July 30, 2012

Visitors to an ever-shrinking pond...

Drying pond
(Seneca Falls, NY 7/12)
It has been dry this year and the pond in our backyard is barely earning its name. But the mud pan is good for tracking and I imagine that the small pool of water concntrates prey making it easier to catch. The camera trap is not visible in this photo but it is attached to the willow tree in the background left. BTW, this end of the pond is now completely dry so I moved the camera to the deeper end yesterday.

The mud is just littered with raccoon tracks, so it was no suprise that I captured several really nice coon shots.
Raccoon family
(Seneca Falls, NY 7/12)

I love this photo! What an action shot. Each of the youngsters is actively searching for food. The young coons will stay with their mother all summer and may even spend the winter with them. I hope to keep getting photos of these guys and watch them grow. I can't tell if that is an eye shine in the backgound. Evidence that it may be is this next photo of four young
Raccoon and four young
(Seneca Falls, NY 7/12)
Among the raccon tracks, I found a single set of skunk tracks. We only have one species of skunk in NY, the striped skunk. I have had no shortage of skunk photos this year. Check out other entries here.
Striped skunk
(Seneca Falls, NY 7/12)
Skunk and raccoon tracks have some similarities. They are both about the same size and both have five digits on the front and rear. But there are some obvious differences. The digits are not aligned the same and are much shorter on the skunk. Skunks also have some really long claws on the front feet. So when I found this skunk's tracks among the coons, it was pretty obvious.
Striped skunk track (rear)
(Seneca Falls, NY 7/12)
Striped skunk track (left)
Seneca Falls, NY 7/12)

The final track I wish to share is a little different. This one is on the camera itself! At first, I brushed it off as a raccoon. I have had experiences with coons climbing my cameras before but this one didn't look right for coon. We are looking at the print to the right of the flash. Note that only four toes are showing. That in itself doesn't eliminate coon. It is common for a toe (or two) to not show in a track, but it had me thinking of who would leave a four-toed track. The answer: rodents. And when I looked at the photos from the camera I found this:

The unmistakable tail of a gray squirrel. Look at those long whispy hairs on the edge. Here is the whole squirrel for comparison:

Gray squirrel
(Seneca Falls, NY 7/12)

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