Hi! My name is Ms. Woodward. Please travel with me to Nova Scotia to study Climate Change and Mammals!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

We started our day hoping to catch something in our traps. Unfortunately, there was nothing. Trapping here wasn't as successful as at East Port Medway. Our trapping in the grasslands is part of a long term study that Chris and Christina are doing on the small mammal populations. The seasons seem to be arriving later, so the hibernating animals are taking longer to come out of torpor (hibernation). Did you know that it takes a lot of energy for animals to do that? I didn't. If there are some nice warm days the animals may use their energy to come out of hibernation, but then if it turns really cold again they will go back into hibernation. That uses up more energy and will make it difficult for the animal to survive. After we collected all the traps, we cut down a few more trees to open up the edges of the grassland. The last one we worked on was too hard, so our handsaw just wasn't doing it. They will have to come back with power saws. It was looking really good by the time we were finished, but I of course forgot to take a picture! Later on we learned some forest survival skills. So now in theory I can start a fire and trap animals! It was pretty interesting. We finished a bit early so I was able to Skype with both Mrs. Vieau's and my class this afternoon. Thanks to both classes for the great questions. I was so busy answering questions that I forgot to mention that it is Earth Day! Well really everyday is Earth Day. You don't even have to do big things to be more conscious of helping our earth. Even little things like buying food locally, turning the heat down a bit and wearing a sweater, or just making sure that you respect living things is a way to do your part in taking care of our natural resources. Last week we set camera traps. Camera traps are a way to monitor animal activity without live trapping. The cameras are activated by motion and takes pictures in bursts of three. Chris set one by the compost pile. Although we got many pictures of crows and seagulls there were also several of raccoon and there were even two of a fox. I'm posting the fox and one raccoon. We had a talk this evening with Chris about the geology of Nova Scotia. As the glaciers of the ice age advanced, Nova Scotia was stripped of much of its topsoil. Then as the glaciers retreated, large glacial erratics were dropped onto the province and glacial rivers formed carrying large amounts of sediment and depositing them off the coast of Nova Scotia. As a result, Nova Scotia has a very thin layer of top soil, no subsoil, and then bedrock. I think one of glacial erratics is what got me in East Port Medway! What is a glacial erratic? We were supposed to go bat detecting, but it is too cool. Although the days have been very warm, the evenings are getting into the low to mid 30s. That is still a bit cool for hibernating animals. So, it's too cold and wet for bats to be out. Why don't you think they would bother to go out? Here's a hint, think about why I said bats are beneficial to have in your woods. However, I do have a great video of Dr. Chris Newman explaining how the bat detector works. I was fascinated! I did it in two part, because I thought the file might be too long. In fact, it's taking forever to upload. I'll try again tomorrow. I'll also post some beaver video tomorrow. We'll be looking at our data that we gathered this week, and then we'll see what's on the camera traps that we set. Hopefully we'll have some good photos! The afternoon will be spent at Keji Seaside Adjunct. We're hoping for decent weather. Not many animals are active at this time of year, so we hope to get a glimpse of the few that are.


At April 22, 2010 at 9:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You all look so wholesome and robust in that group photo. Very nice pictures in general.

See you Saturday night.


At April 22, 2010 at 11:44 PM , Blogger Richard said...

I suppose bats that thinks like humans wouldn't go out on a cold night because they'd think ahead and say,"It's too cold for insects. Why waste energy looking for food when it's not out there." Maybe bats have memories of flying on cold nights and finding no food. Maybe bats can echolocate from their caves to "see" that no insects are about.
The pictures of the fox and raccoon make them look like they could be friends with Bugs Bunny! Their eyes look unreal!I surely have enjoyed your photos from Nova Scotia!

At April 23, 2010 at 5:20 AM , Blogger Jill said...

I love the camera trap idea! I need one of those for my backyard! And it's also good to know that if I ever get lost with you, I can count on you for a roaring fire and sustenance! I've seen that fire starting method on "Survivorman" (or one of those cable tv shows). Were you able to get a flame going?

At April 23, 2010 at 5:47 AM , Blogger gingerfiles said...

You are so right, Mr. C. Bats know there is no food out there, so why waste the energy! We're hoping for warmer weather tonight, but the start of the day isn't looking so good. Jill, I thought of you and my dad when I saw the camera traps. We were using a Wildview traps with only 2.0 megapixels and got great pictures. Look on the web. They aren't too expensive!

At April 23, 2010 at 9:34 AM , Blogger gingerfiles said...

That's really cool! Sometime you find beaver scat on the land, but they eat their own scat. You don't often find it because they usually go in the water as they swim. If you do find it, it will kind of look like a cigar with a wrapping on it. Look at the bank of the river in still water. They don't always build in the middle of the water.


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