Sunday, February 1, 2009

Tracking Hike at Arlington Great Meadows

On Sunday February 1, temperatures soared into the balmy range near 40F. What a great day for a Tracking Hike in Arlington's Great Meadows. The event was organized by Don Miller and David White of the Friends of Arlington's Great Meadows . We split into two groups, one led by Lydia Rogers and one by Fran Ludwig. Although we didn't have the dusty covering of new snow that would make conditions optimal for spotting tracks, we did see some. We learned about the X pattern that all dogs make when they leave a track. We saw squirrel tracks, identifiable by the larger tracks in front (made by the back feet) with smaller tracks in back (from the front feet). I was embarrassed to realize that I didn't really know how squirrels ambulate around, despite having a bird feeder in my yard that is a major squirrel attraction every day. A nice picture of squirrel tracks and a drawing of how they move is here. As usual, you may click on photos to see them enlarged.

The snow was textured by cycles of warm/cold and the rocks, branches and other objects lying underneath.
The Friends of Arlington's Great Meadows group have made many improvements that enhance enjoyment and accessibility.

We saw these beautiful ball-shaped oak galls, and also another type more elongated and integrated into the branches of a bear oak. Although these make interesting additions to my "natural collections", I am always conservative about collecting these galls because they provide such visual interest and are part of a fascinating natural system.

Posted by PicasaThanks Lydia, Fran, Don and David for organizing this!