Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Snow Tunnels

Right after the snow stopped on Saturday, something leapt and snow-dived in a path leading from the young pines to the property line (rocky hedgerow for the most part). Red squirrel is my best guess, as I mentioned in the post Snow! There were some prints showing the body and tail that looked the right size and shape--and I learned in December that red squirrels do tunnel in the snow when I had one tunneling from the roadside to under the bird feeders in the snow we had back then. Found more tracks and dives Sunday--out across the open spaces of the fields and the scrape. I still think that the perpetrator is a red squirrel, the tracks suggested this, though the powdery conditions meant that there wasn't a lot of detail.

I photoshopped this to death to try to bring out some of the features in these tracks.

Squirrel tunnel?

For tunnel comparison, here's a photo of the possible mustelid tunnel (long-tailed weasel, or perhaps mink, or marten) I found in December (first published here).

Same glove as above.

But I find this travel across vast open spaces odd for a red squirrel. I've certainly never seen a squirrel out there, and it is possible to travel from beyond the far field or from the cedar bush all the way to the bird feeders in the yard through the young pines, along the hedgerows, etc., without ever crossing more than a few metres of open space. So if this was indeed a red squirrel, what's it doing out there?

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