Sunday, March 13, 2005

Flushed a Ruffed Grouse

After completing my set tasks for today I rewarded myself with a walk in the woods. I started walking but the snow was quite difficult to walk through so back the house I went and put on my snowshoes. The snow by now has a good crust on it but with today’s warmth the snow softened considerably. In clearings the snow was easily half a metre (1½ feet) thick. In the woods it was quite a bit less ranging around 15 cm. (½ ft.) thick. There was lots of activity according to the tracks. The porcupine tends to plough through the deep snow and create paths that it sticks to. These paths often sink down 15 to 20 cm. down in the snow. There was lots of snowshoe hare activity, coyotes have been scouring the area, and the fisher seems to have a hard time hobbling through the deep snow. There are some solitary deer tracks. On my way into the woods I flushed out a ruffed grouse. This was probably the closest I have ever come to one. Snowshoeing in that thick and heavy snow was a good workout.


Anonymous said...

Hello quick question is it the porcupine or the fisher that eats the tops of the trees or rubs on them?.
James Leenhouts

Woodlot_Manager said...

James, Porcupine does major damage to trees. Its favourite food is the larch or tamarack but if hungry will chew on other trees usually coniferous and poplar trees. In a red pine stand on this property the porcupine has girdled - chewed off all the bark all around a tree - quite a few of the trees. This caused the tops to die. Other branches just below the damage then take the lead as the main branch and start to grow straight up. This creates the "Y" shape in the tree growth.

The fisher is entirely carnivorous and will not affect vegetation, but they are well known as one of the few successful predators of porcupines.