Finally posting some photos from my Wildlife Tracking and Trailing Course with Nature Guide Training in South Africa, August 2017. More details and photos coming soon…
I’ve recently been on the lookout for a solid example of gray squirrel striping. Gray squirrels tend to utilize the most gnarly tree in their territory to use as a scenting/marking post, so you’d expect they would be hard to miss. Perhaps my search image is not quite developed enough yet… The only other tree I’ve found in the area with this sign is the distinguished (and diseased) American Chestnut on the Center Trail in Stony Hill which is a very distinctly shaped tree that is hard to go unnoticed, especially being adjacent to the trail. However, I only noticed the gray squirrel striping on its main trunk last winter after I was introduced to this gray squirrel-specific behavior. Below is another example of this behavior that I found in Stony Hill on an oak (also diseased) with a very distinct, large burl. Notice the reddish color on the underside of the burl as well as the darker tint beneath the burl on the lower section of the trunk.
Upon closer inspection, I found the reddish color was actually gray squirrel teeth marks exposing the inner bark. The darker coloration below that is believed to be the result of the squirrel rubbing the side of it’s mouth/cheek on the bark for scenting purposes.
Further along on my adventure, I spotted a gray squirrel scat at the base of another oak, along with some tracks and an exposed acorn cash giving it away.
This may be the most fresh squirrel scat I have found yet.
Along with lots of gray squirrel, perhaps the most abundant track and sign was that of white-tailed deer. Below is a fresh antler scrape on a sapling with the tracks of the buck continuing up the hill to the left. I apologize for the picture quality…
I’m going to do my best to keep these tracking posts coming, especially when we have snow.
Reading Wildlife Track and Sign Workshop
Saturday May 14, 2016 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Instructors: Mike Bottini, Juliana Duryea, Callie Velmachos.
Location: Sagaponack – Sag Harbor area.
Fee: $40 ($36 for LINO members).
ONLINE REGISTRATION IS AT www.longislandnature.org
The Red Fox’s typical hunting gait: direct register trot.
This field workshop is designed for naturalists, environmental and outdoor educators, amateur trackers and citizen scientists, professional biologists, and students (minimum age of 16) seeking to increase their wildlife tracking and observation skills, and sign knowledge.
We will visit three different sites in the Long Pond Greenbelt area, including a pond shoreline, beach, and a river otter latrine site.
Topics that will be covered include:
– how to examine tracks (habitat, trail patterns, print details)
– understanding gaits
– distinguishing various feeding and marking sign
– identifying scat and tracks of over dozen wildlife species.
For more information or questions contact Mike Bottini at firstname.lastname@example.org or 631-267-5228.
Sunday July 19, 2015
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
(sponsored by Long Island Nature Organization)
Location: The Walking Dunes, Hither Hills State Park
Fee: $130 ($117 for LINO members).
ONLINE REGISTRATION IS AT www.longislandnature.org
These courses are taught by George Leoniak (www.leoniaktracking.com), one of the six CyberTracker evaluators in North America, and provide participants the opportunity to pursue Track and Sign Certification from CyberTracker Conservation, a globally recognized non-profit that established the international standard for assessing wildlife tracking and sign skills. Participants in the one-day course will have the opportunity to test for Level I certification.
In wildlife research and monitoring, natural sign surveys are an effective means of collecting data on the presence, range and distribution of animal species. However, there are concerns about the integrity of the data from these types of surveys. In response to these concerns, the CyberTracker Conservation Evaluation System was designed to establish reliable, standardized tracking skills.
These workshops are open to naturalists, environmental and outdoor educators, amateur trackers and citizen scientists, professional biologists, and students (minimum age of 16) seeking to increase their wildlife tracking and observation skills, and sign knowledge. Over 60 wildlife biologists, natural resource managers, educators and interested naturalists have taken this popular program on Long Island since March 2014.
LINO founder and wildlife biologist Mike Bottini took this workshop in New Hampshire in February 2014, and invited instructor George Leoniak to Long Island that spring to offer it here. “This is the best field naturalist workshop I’ve ever taken,” says Bottini. “George is an amazing instructor. I realized its potential to train naturalists on Long Island to help document the distribution of rare and elusive species here, such as the gray fox, river otter, and some day soon a breeding population of coyotes.”
“I enjoyed the course a very great deal. It opened my eyes to the richness of information that tracks and signs can reveal–if you know how to read them. I look forward to learning more.” Betty Borowsky, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology, Nassau Community College
For more information or questions contact Mike Bottini at
email@example.com or 631-267-5228.
Saturday, March 14, 9-11 AM
at the Nature Conservancy’s Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island
Otters can be found at Mashomack! Join Mike Bottini, wildlife biologist, for a talk and short field trip to learn about the natural history of the river otter, its history on Long Island and in NY and the current research efforts on behalf of this fascinating mammal.
For more information on the Long Island River Otter Project, visit Mike Bottini’s website here.
Saturday, January 31, 2015 @ 7:00PM
South Fork Natural History Museum (SOFO)
377 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike
River Otters are slowly making a comeback on Long Island. Join Mike Bottini for a talk about the natural history of this fascinating creature, its history on Long Island and in New York State, how to survey areas for this elusive animal, and current research efforts on behalf of the river otter.
Reservations are necessary through SOFO. Please call (631) 537-9735. Members of SOFO admitted free. Non-members charged $7 per adult, $5 per child under 12 years.