2013/03/03 - Last Remains of the Blizzard

Snow remaining after a blizzard

Conditions: Drought conditions continue. Today - Time 10am, temp. 48F, SW wind 16 mph, partly cloudy. Trails are muddy to damp with few patches of snow remaining, especially on the Lower Buff Trail and the bottom portions of the Windmill Trail. Temps in the 70's and stiff breeze should further reduce snow coverage and dry out the trails by late afternoon.

Observations: 2013 First Sightings - one shed deer antler. Reptiles - No sightings reported.  Birds - Sightings include House Finch, White-winged Dove at the feeders. Mammals - Desert Mule Deer fresh scat and tracks are more scarce than before the blizzard.  Fresh Coyote scat and tracks as well as Bobcat tracks were seen in the windmill area. Plants - Some cools season grasses are sporting new leaves while gramas are showing a slight hint of green at the base of the plants. Insects - None noted.

Muddy Trail

Muddy trails conditions lead to slippery footing
The composition of soils will change from one trail location to another. Any patches of mostly clay and loam soil types relatively free of sand will quite slippery to walk on, especially when wearing shoes or boots with slick soles.



Cat Tracks in Mud

Bobcat tracks in mud
The best time to make impressions of animal tracks is when the tracks were made in mud and the soil is still moist. These Bobcat prints aren't quite as deep as I would like to see but clearly shows the shape and spacing of the cat's pads.



Cat Stalking

Follow the tracks, understand the size and behavior.
When one sees a long series of tracks such as these it is much easier to determine not only the gait of the animal but estimate its size as well. In some cases the story of what the animal was doing at the time unfolds, especially if there are signs of other animal tracks which indicate the two met and perhaps blood or disturbed ground indicates a kill. In this case, the cat went to get a drink of water and simply returned along the same path at a leisurely pace. (I forgot to make sure there was a quarter in my pocket so I used my keys instead to give you some sense of size and spacing between the prints.