01-09-15 Field Note

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01-09-15 Field Note

January 9, 2015

Jeff Clarke's first field note of the year describes habitat piles, caddis flies, and muskrats.

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Habitat piles, inversion, muskrats, red squirrel, caddis fly

Over the last few years, a 40 yard pile of wood and debris accumulated in Partridge Alley. This winter I will relocate all the fence posts to make new habitat piles. I will burn piles of hounds tongue, wood stakes and other rubbish in a bin.

The new habitat piles will provide shelter for small mammals and birds.

Deer tracks walk toward an aspen grove. A buck and rail exclosure diverts their path and protects a few aspen stems

A red squirrel sits silent and motionless as I pass beneath its perch.

Muskrats remain active through the winter months. To get air, they breathe trapped air pockets and gnaw holes through the ice. Pictured below, geese tracks, frozen in slush, avoid a gnawed hole.

Caddis larvae use small items from their environment to camouflage their protective cases while they develop.

A dried and frozen toad lays on the crusty snow surface. The only tracks nearby belong to a corvid.

This summer we filled a large washed out ditch with woody debris. This winter hundreds of cottontail rabbit trails lead to the once barren site.

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