The wild pickings are slimmer in the Brighton millpond area in winter. The insects are either gone or hiding, there are only a limited number of bird species flying about, and none of the mammals wander around unless actively pursuing of a meal.
I have to hunt for other things at which to point my camera. That’s why you’re seeing more “art,” patterns and textures, instead of field reports. Yet I’m always looking for signs of life even when nothing is in motion.
Your task is to identify the residents and visitors to the area by the tracks they leave. Two of these images are from the same beast (top and upper right), and the one directly above probably won’t be difficult to identify if you’ve read this blog for more than two minutes. But the photo on the right might stump you. It’s sort of a trick question. Click the images to see them larger. The answers are in the next paragraph. Stop reading here until you’ve make your decisions.
Directly above is (of course) a duck. The cool thing about it is the left wing print as it took off; five flight feathers brushed the powder leaving their mark. Top and upper right photos: A muskrat. Notice the swaying tail track between its paw prints as it lumbers along. Also note the five toe prints instead of the four left by many small mammals. The tricky photo has the tracks of two critters and both of them domestic pets, a dog (obviously unleashed, a park no-no) and a house cat, probably one of the ferals I see infrequently and can never get close enough to photograph.