I donned my snowshoes and took a lap around our woodlot when I got home tonight. I think the chipmunks are out. I didn’t see any of them, but I did see plenty of tracks. We had a dusting of snow last night, and when it landed atop the frozen crust that was already there, it created the perfect substrate for capturing small mammal tracks.
Here’s a chipmunk hole hideout at the base of a small tree:
None of these tracks led to the base of any large trees, but plenty of them disappeared into holes in the snow at the base of small trees like these. The tracks are also very small compared to a grey squirrel’s.
After a little more tramping around I came across tracks of the chipmunk’s mortal enemy – the common housecat. I figure it belongs to the neighbors. There were plenty of cat tracks criss-crossing my property, both in the back and out front. Here’s a place where cat and grey squirrel tracks crossed paths:
They must have made these tracks at different times, as they both continue off in straight lines in different directions.
Here’s a nice cat print at the end of my driveway:
I like the detail it left here. Right after these tracks, the cat leaped up onto the snowbank along the side of the driveway with its claws fully extended. Then it scrambled up the bank and headed down my snowshoe trail. It must be quite a bit easier to walk on that as compared to bare snow. Less risk of this:
Looks like kitty broke through the crust and then clawed its way out.
While I was out I did check my sap bucket (that was the stated reason for putting on the snowshoes, though the real reason was just to walk around). It was far too cold today for any sap to run. I don’t think it got out of the 20′s.