Parallel universes

DSC_0668

Male Common Yellowthroat, a frequent visitor at the banding station.

Unusually heavy rains have put much of the banding station underwater for the past three months. One side effect of this is that, on the days when the area is sufficiently dried out for us to squelch out in our rubber boots and band birds, the mud shows the tracks of everyone else who has been out there before us.

Usually the denizens of the banding station of whom I am aware are the birds we catch in the nets and band. These tend to be small- to medium-sized songbirds. The mud reveals an entirely different set of creatures living in the area.

IMG_8522

Raccoon hand prints near a human bootprint.

IMG_8519

Egret footprints

There seems to be little overlap between the mud-animals and the netted animals—with the exception of the sparrows, who sometimes turn up in the nets with muddy feet.

DSC_6301

Golden-crowned Sparrow

DSC_0646

Song Sparrow

Some of the track-leavers would be happy to snatch a bird from our nets as an easy snack, which is why we patrol the nets diligently.

IMG_8520

Gray fox (?) tracks.

I have known for a while that the banding station is bustling with hidden wildlife, thanks to the portion of that widlife that turns up in our nets, not to mention the racket of birdsong at sunrise.

DSC_8164

Hermit Thrush.

The mud tracks demonstrate that this area—a former orchard that has been restored to an unassuming grassy, brushy patch of land—is teeming with larger, quieter animals too.

IMG_8636

Duck and raccoon prints

IMG_8503

Lots of little squirrel (?) footprints, and something canine (coyote?) running.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s