World Wildlife Day Tracking Adventure

Reflections courtesy of Andrea Higgins
Photos courtesy of Gary Carreiro and Andrea Higgins

A wonderful and curious group gathered on World Wildlife Day for a wildlife tracking adventure at Bell’s Neck Conservation Lands. It was an absolutely amazing day of discovery. Together we found turtle egg nests, coyote scat and tracks, otter slides and scat, and signs of red squirrels feeding. There was copious evidence of deer including beds, rubs, paths, and scat. 

We were serenaded by red-winged blackbirds and spotted red-breasted mergansers, hooded mergansers, buffleheads, mallards, ring-necked ducks and kingfishers. Our youngest adventurer, a graduate from the HCT Preschool Explorers, discovered a jelly fungus on a branch! Fun common names for the Exidia recisa include amber jelly, jelly roll and brown witches’ butter. 

While examining browse from deer and rabbit in a field, one of our adventurers discovered a unique find! Could it perhaps be bobcat scat? To investigate further, I sent photos and measurements off to both my wildlife tracking teacher for confirmation and to my fellow tracking friends and students for their thoughts and input. I went back the day after our walk to research contents of the scat. More photos were sent off to my teacher and a positive ID was made… yes indeed we found bobcat scat at Bell’s Neck!

Continuing around the reservoir, we practiced some plant ID while admiring bayberry, wintergreen, inkberry, oaks, pines, beech trees, sheep laurel, blueberries, huckleberry, sweet pepper bushes and mayflowers. 

Pausing at another otter slide just before the fish ladder at the end of our adventure, a mink darted across the path right in front of us and quickly made its way towards the river’s edge!

What an adventure. Thank you to everyone who joined. What a wonderful afternoon!

Hope to see you soon,