Monday, March 2, 2009
Algonquin Winter Wildlife Tracking
I have just recently returned from our annual winter wildlife tracking trip in Algonquin Park. This marks my 9th year at this program who is organized through White Pine Programs and my close friend Dan Gardoqui from Maine. As always it was a great week of tracking and we found tracks and trails of many animals including wolf, moose, marten, fisher, otter, mink, beaver, snowshoe hare, flying squirrels red fox and many others. We continue to experience epic tracking on this trip year after year and learn a great deal about these animals and how they survive and relate to this beautiful landscape. After a couple days of warm weather before the trip the temperatures dropped to below freezing and a nice 'crust' layer formed with a trace of snow on top leaving a great substrate to record the tracks of the many animals that we tracked. After a couple days of building, there were so many tracks registered in the snow that it was a little tricky deciphering the different ages of the trails that we followed.
At the beginning of each day Dan and I would be out in the early hours 'scouting' for wolf sign crossing the highway and determining the plan for the day. We spent the first few days following at least 3 different packs of wolves as they moved across frozen lakes and traversed the rocky hills in the southern part of the park. There were literally thousands of perfect wolf tracks left for us to read and follow. At night we would follow up our day of tracking researching and striving to answer some of the many questions posed by our discoveries that day. We also managed to sneak in some slideshows on local wildlife as well as some informative presentations on the current tracks and sign evaluations taking place in the U.S. One of the local wolf biologists also came and talked to us about some of the current research happening in the park which helped the participants to gain a deeper understanding of the Eastern Wolves and thier current status in Ontario.
This is definately one of my favorite trips of the year and I continue to look forward to it each February. A week of tracking in such a beautiful place with a small and eager group of people is hard to beat.
For a full array of photos from our trip please visit our Earth Tracks facebook page and become a fan while you're there.