The meeting place

A quick announcement, first off, for the folks who use Facebook and might be interested. Starting today I’ve taken over day-to-day management of the Peterson Field Guide fan page on Facebook. I’ll be posting photographs with associated bits of information. If this blog is, let’s say, mostly lunch- or dinner-sized servings, the Facebook items will be snack-sized tidbits. The content will be otherwise largely similar, though. If you’re a Facebook user and want to follow my posts there, go to this page and click on “Like” at the top, and it’ll show up on your Facebook friends page. And if you’re not a Facebook user but still want to check in, I’m pretty sure you can go to that link and it’ll still show you everything even if you don’t have a Facebook account.

And a second announcement, regarding the Nature Blog Network. We (or, I should say, primarily the hard-working Wren of Wrennaissance Reflections) have been planning a reinvigorating of the NBN blog and community. One of the things NBN members indicated they’d like to see was an RSS feed of all of the posts from the NBN members’ blogs. Something similar to that Blogger sidebar widget what will show you the latest posts from a person’s blogroll contacts. The feed was launched today and can be found here. A Google Reader version containing complete posts is here. If you’re a Twitterer, new member posts will be tweeted at the NBN Twitter page. Unfortunately, blogs have to be added manually (we couldn’t find a bulk import option) and with over 1200 blogs in the NBN it’ll take a little while to get everyone added, but they’ll all get there eventually! It’ll be a great way to find new and engaging nature content.

Procupine? trails

I’ve noticed just recently a proliferation of trails in our meadows. They cut through the long grass, flattening it down with the creature’s passage. They criss and cross and double back and come together. Can you see them, in the photo above? Two trails, leading out of the forest and converging in a compressed patch of grass. A meeting place? Friendly hellos, or irritated confrontation?

I don’t know for sure who they’re made by, but I suspect porcupines. I came across a little pile of the distinctive macaroni-shaped droppings at the side of our human-made trail, where a creature-made trail intersected it, a few days ago (discovered primarily because Raven was rolling in it, otherwise it might have escaped my attention). Also, I think it’s more likely these trails were made by a low-bellied animal such as a porcupine or raccoon than by something taller like a coyote or a deer. When Raven wades (bounds) through the grass, or even, for that matter, when I do, we don’t leave such a distinct trail. Grass stands back up fairly quickly from a swishing-through, but takes more time to recover if it’s been flattened.

I’m not certain why there would suddenly be such an apparent exodus of porcupines from the forest just now. It’s possible that youngsters, who to this point have been able to share feeding territories with their parents, are now dispersing to find their own den sites and associated winter feeding grounds. Or, maybe it’s just a single individual or two who’s taken a liking to the shrubs growing in the field, and has been making trips back and forth and between plants.

Porcupine? trails

(I was photographing a moth in the dark forest and set my camera to Manual mode while using the flash so the image wouldn’t get washed out. And then I forgot to change the setting back. So this image got washed out instead. I still like it, though.)