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? 


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.