Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pleasant Valley in Winter

Enjoying the view from Lenox Mountain, Richmond.

Yesterday, I co-led a hike with Becky Cushing, Berkshire Sanctuaries Director, at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox. We walked up the Trail of the Ledges to the top of Lenox Mountain and returned on the Overbrook Trail. The temperature was in the mid-twenties with some wind here and there, but we were comfortable. We had hoped to use snowshoes, but alas, not enough snow. 

We saw lots of animal tracks including those of red fox, deer, coyote, bobcat, fisher, mice and squirrel. As Becky was pointing out some tracks, we noticed some yellow snow next to them at the trail's edge. The animal was marking its territory. One way to tell the difference between coyote and red fox is to smell the urine. This we did!

The consensus was that it smelled skunky, so that meant they were red fox tracks. Some of us, including me, didn't smell it. I'm not sure if that was because my nose was running or that I'm someone who just doesn't distinguish that odor. I guess it's a good thing I'm not a red fox!

As we started, a bridge cross a stream gave us a good view of animal tracks.
The water was moving swiftly but froze as it splashed up on this branch.
Becky shows us fisher tracks.
The Trail of the Ledges is challenging with steep sections.
Ice seeping out of the rocks formed icicles and ice sheets along parts of the trail.
Becky picked up some snow with yellow urine
and we sniffed it to help identify the red fox tracks. Fun!
A great way to spend a Saturday morning.

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