17 December, 2011 Don’t look down!
If you know me or anyone in my family you know what “don’t look down” means. Fortunately it applies to driving and not to hikes at the river. Earlier this week on a late hike I looked down a lot and pointed my camera down a lot and took a handful of interesting pictures.
In about our first minute on the trail a deer bolted away from the river’s edge and dashed across the trail and headed for more solitude. Including less dogs. The dogs were still very interested at the river’s edge even though the deer was gone so I started looking down to see what they were so interested in. Last week the river had a significant flood and crested at nearly sixteen feet. The morning we were at Pony Pasture it was around six feet. When the river’s gone down from a big flood like that it leaves a smooth surface on the mud and the animal tracks stand out. Also we were late getting down there and it was sunny and beautiful and the tracks were easy to see.
This wasn’t from the deer we saw (I don’t think). It was much farther downstream. Nice looking print though:
There are many deer tracks at Pony Pasture. But by far the most ubiquitous mammal at Pony Pasture is Canis familiaris:
Plenty of tracks from these slow moving primates:
We also saw many of these tracks. Those of you who know, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it’s a raccoon. It may also be a skunk or an opossum or a porcupine but I’m pretty certain it’s a raccoon. There were lots of them:
I was a little surprised not to see beaver tracks. Beavers (and probably muskrats) have been around; you can see where they’ve chewed down trees. Maybe the flood drove them out. I think the park would be happy about that. They were becoming a nuisance.
This being the riverbank, not all of the tracks were of course from mammals. I’m not sure what bird left these. There are a lot of seagulls now but I rarely see them on land. Could have been crows but not certain of that either. There are also tons of geese but when they leave prints you can see the webs in their feet. This bird was good sized:
Another bird was down there earlier too; this was larger than good sized. I think it could only have been a Great Blue Heron. Some Bald Eagles are larger, but Great Blue Herons are by far the largest bird we see down there on a regular basis:
There were even invertebrates. This looks like a worm of some kind:
This picture was not even from this week; I took it a couple weeks ago. Mackey’s a little wet and a little muddy but this is a nice pose in nice light:
When I looked at the tracks I was happy to see the river even left one of its own. These are little wave marks from where the last waves lapped at the sand as the water receded:
I also left off an important picture from my last blog post. I wrote about my trip to Virginia’s Eastern Shore with Evelyn. While we traveled back down Rte. 13 we passed through Machipongo, VA. I like the different types of place names on the Eastern Shore. For every “Machipongo” there’s an “Exmore” just as for every “Parksley” there’s a “Nassawadox.” Native American to English and back, every few miles. Only in America would we name a peninsula that spans Delaware, Maryland and Virginia the “Delmarva” peninsula. Anyway, as we past through Machipongo Evelyn asked me to stop at The Great Machipongo Clam Shack, owned by friends of hers. She came out with this gift:
Have a great day,