As the end of winter approaches and the final snows fly, there are still opportunities to explore the goings and doings of our fellow animal inhabitants in the Upper Delaware River …
As the end of winter approaches and the final snows fly, there are still opportunities to explore the goings and doings of our fellow animal inhabitants in the Upper Delaware River region.
Learning to locate and to read animal tracks is both fun and informative for all ages, and can be done anywhere from your backyard to the wild beyond.
Fresh snowfall provides the opportunity to see what animals and birds are about, even when you don’t see the actual animal. The ensuing “mud” season of thaw is another great revealer of which species are active in various locations.
“Tracking is a means to look into the lives of mammals and other elusive animals,” writes Jon Young, creator of Wilderness Awareness School (www.wildernessawareness.org) in “Exploring Natural History.” “Tracks are always an indication of the size, weight, movement, behavior, mood, identity, physiology and direction of the being that left the tracks.”
Young was mentored by master tracker Tom Brown Jr., author of “The Tracker,” an indispensable tool for those interested in honing their ability to discern more about the unseen lives around us.
“The first track is the end of a string,” writes Brown. “At the far end, a being is moving: a mystery, dropping a hint about itself every so many feet, telling you more about itself until you can almost see it, even before you come to it. The mystery reveals itself slowly, track by track, giving its genealogy early to coax you in. Further on, it will tell you the intimate details of its life and work, until you know the maker of the track like a lifelong friend.”
Evidence of animal lives is all around us. Check out the following upcoming opportunities to increase your knowledge of the fascinating fauna whose lives play out here.
The Pocono Environmental Education Center in Dingmans Ferry, PA, is offering “Salamanders, Frogs, and More” on March 19 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Participants will learn which amphibians are stirring in the woods, while they explore breeding pools for salamanders, frogs and egg masses. Stick around for the “Woodcock Walk” later that evening, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. to hopefully observe this delightful bird and its spectacular springtime mating display. Visit www.peec.org for more information.
Meanwhile, should you find yourself in need of some outdoor adventure to cure your cabin fever, visit www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/55423.html for tips and information on viewing or photographing wildlife, as well as for a link to the new New York State Birding Trail.
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