No Rain, but ticks!
Today was so much better than yesterday - no rain and not so cold! In fact the sun was out for most of the day. However, because it was so much warmer we had lots of ticks to deal with!! They seem to like to jump onto your clothes and then hide until you find them later on your neck, arm or leg! We always have to do tick checks when we're done in the field to make sure they aren't taking a ride home with us. Do you know what ticks are?
With our trappings today we only caught one Meadow Vole - Spunky! Meadow Voles are larger and quicker than the Red-Backed Voles. They live out in the grasslands and don't have as many hiding spots, so have to be quicker and need the extra body fat to keep warm. Well be going out tomorrow again, so hopefully will have a few more to look at.
We did some more snow-shoe hare quadrats and found over 2000 scat in our plots. Then we did some deer and field transects to see what other animals are in the Cook's lake area and found bobcat, coyote, porcupine, deer, fox, and marmet. The picture above shows how we plot out the area for a quadrat.
So why are we trapping small mammals and looking at scat? One of the reasons is to get an idea of what animals live in this area. Then scientists have to systematically monitor the populations for long periods of time to find out how abundant the animals are. They can estimate population size using mathematics. They actually know how much scat a specific animal produces in an area and then through mathematical formulas can figure out how many animals are living there. This is important information in knowing how animal populations are changing - are they getting bigger, smaller, migrating, etc.
Tomorrow - Beaver watching in the evening!!