Saturday, November 20, 2004

Lots of deer tracks and fresh evidence of Porcupine

Today's task is the inspection of Woodlot compartments C and D.

Found some more oak trees in the northern part of area C. There were two variations yet the both looked most like bur oak. [Quercus macrocarpa]. The variations were different enough though that one could be a white or english oak. In spring I hope to be able to do a better assessment by looking at buds and early leaves.

I ventured into Area D which is very wet. The water was high and the path that runs along the northern border was not passable without wading boots. The area is dominated by buckthorn and there is some red-osier dogwood [Cornus stolonifera]. There is much evidence of deer in the form of well used trails. Also there are scraped earth patches in serveral locations caused by bucks who are currently in rut. We only have one species of deer in these parts which is the whitetail deer [Odocoileus virginianus]. There is no evidence of any moose in these parts.

Heading back south found a very old and large yellow birch [Betula alleghaniensis] in the south part of C. Many of the branches on this tree are dead and breaking off. There is also a good number of young sugar maple saplings in the area. On the walk back found evidence of porcupine. One Tamarack [Larix laricina] – also called hackmatack and eastern larch – of good size, 6 inch (15 cm.) diameter trunk, about 40 feet (15M.) tall was heavily chewed up by a porcupine [Erethizon dorsatum] (p.) and will probably not survive. In this area I had earlier - several years ago - seen a very large porcupine in the top of one of the larger poplar trees. It was certainly 20 kg. (44 pounds), about the size of a dog, in fact I had at first mistaken it for a bear cub. This must be unusually large since all the literature on the animal states much smaller weights. I will take better notes next time.

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