It's always something isn't it?
Today we went out early to check traps because some of us had a Skype session scheduled with our class. As we were checking our traps we found several that had been torn apart! In all 30 out of 100 traps were pulled apart. Either chipmunks got in them and shook them until they popped apart, or raccoons opened them to get the food. The scientists said raccoons are very good at that. We did have 3 closed traps. Of course they were all before the huge rock field we had to cross. I got over most of it, but at the last part I had two traps in my hand and my foot slipped. I hit the rock hard on my shin, and I could tell I was cut. It got pretty bad, so my partner sent me back to the meeting point with the traps while she checked the rest. I spent the rest of the morning in the hospital. It felt like a rug burn, but it required 11 stitches! I'm up and moving no problem now although I'm sure I'll be sore. I'll be out counting dropping with everyone the next time we go out. I was disappointed to miss the Skype session with my class, but one of my teammates took over and did a great job. Thanks Miss Blemker! Today the caught 1 new vole, 2 recaptures, and a deer mouse. Next week we will trap at Cook's Lake which is a different type of ecosystem. I made it out of the hospital in time to join the group at an organic Christmas tree farm. They do responsible forestry rather than clear cutting, they organically raise sheep, chickens, and beef as well. We took a very nice horse and wagon ride through part of the forest and farm. Remember that I was going to talk to you more about the porcupines? While we think they are really neat, people in Nova Scotia regard them as a pest species. During this time of year there isn't enough grass for the porcupines so they strip the bark off of trees. If they strip enough it will kill the tree. Even though it's blurry, you can see the teeth marks on this spruce tree. They seem to love the spruce and birch the most. They are after the sweet sap under the bark. Many people shoot the porcupines to control them. However, the scientists believe that there are fewer porcupines left in the area than people think. The impression is that there are many because they are visible eating the green grass on the side of the road. They are very slow and know that they can protect themselves from predators with their quills, but that doesn't work with a car or truck. So, porcupines have a high road kill rate. Chris and Christina are gathering data on porcupine habits. They are hoping to propose better practices of farming to discourage the killing of porcupines. We're headed to the laundry mat tonight so I need to sign off, but I'll post more about this tomorrow.