tracking in topsham!!

After a long, stressful week, my Friday afternoon might have been well spent napping. But you know me—if there’s a nature adventure to be had, sleep can wait!

So two days ago, I went to one of Bowdoin’s monthly Field Note Fridays (my first, actually!) to go TRACKING a few miles away from campus!! Those of you who know me even marginally well know that my go-to fun fact is that I track wolves back in Washington. So of course I couldn’t resist the chance to practice and develop my skills!

Before we headed out, we learned about a handful of scientific names—a FNF tradition, I’m told—to put us in that ~naturalist mindset.~ My favorite was probably the tufted titmouse, Baeolophus bicolorBaeolophus means “little crest” !! So cute!

20180216_141125

After that, five of us—three other gals and my ecology-loving lab instructor from one of my classes, Perspectives in Environmental Science—piled into a van and drove about ten minutes to the Cathance River Education Alliance in Topsham. CREA turned out to be one of those perfect little ecological centers full of field guides, maps, taxidermied local wildlife, and tons of educational materials. What a happy place!! We were then greeted by some lovely ladies, who gave us a brief tour and sat us down to talk about tracking!!!!

I loved the way they taught us about what it means to track—you really don’t need to be an expert on the tracks themselves, because so much of it is about context clues and patterns. (I’d love to post a more detailed guide to tracking at some point, so stay tuned for that!)

20180216_153148Also, this book is apparently the definitive field guide to tracks—and they have a pocket version, so I’m definitely getting myself a copy! Anyway, after maybe an hour of poking around the building and learning about tracking, we headed out (in unusually warm weather) on the trails.

The center itself is located on a beautiful chunk of land, with five miles of trails and a creek home to BEAVERS! Can you spot the beaver sign in the first photo below? Even though the melting snow wasn’t great for tracks, we also saw plenty of squirrel sign, some fox prints, and some porcupine-chewed trees.

Maybe part of this was my exhaustion from the week, but I definitely cried a few lil happy tears out there. It’s so important to give yourself time for the things you love! I’m so glad I could get outside for a few hours and practice one of my favorite skills. ❤

(Also, as promised, here are the tracks from my last post, left to right: fox (gray or red), some kind of mouse, squirrel, porcupine, and turkey!!)

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