Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Riverbank Ramble


Another perfect winter day, so back to the Hudson I went.  Today, to the Sherman Island boat launch and a quarter mile or so through the woods along the shore.  The river was a study in blue and white, with ice floes floating lazily along, nudging against each other, piling up in the shallows, turning and flowing back upstream for awhile.  I sat and watched, mesmerized, like staring into the flames and coals of a fire.  Heading back, I noticed these witch hazel bracts, like little yellow flowers shining in the sun.  This bush was in bloom as late as early December.




I found these critter tracks on the ice shelf along the river.  I could visualize a big weasel-like animal inch-worming along, making clusters of five-toed pawprints about 18 inches apart.  I placed the beech leaf in the photo to provide scale;  before the tip broke off it was about four and a half inches long.  I'm guessing otter.  Anyone else want to offer an opinion? 






2 comments:

NatureGirl said...

Based on the size of your leaf, I'd guess otter, too. Did you see any evidence of slides or tail drags? I imagine if you did, you probably would've written so.

Also - I love your ice ferns on your previous post!!!

Woodswalker said...

Nope, no slides nor tail drags, or I would have had no doubts. The prints are somewhat degraded by melting so they may appear larger than life, and I'm not sure I can see any webbing between toes. The feet seem too big and the clusters too far apart to be mink. Do fishers ever inch-worm? I only picture them walking.