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Archive for the ‘Coyote’s’ Category

A couple years back I was shoveling my driveway and it dawned on me that I wasn’t ‘grooming the track’,  like when I was younger- carefully shoveling so that I could preserve a sloped track perfect for sledding. 

I was, in fact, shoveling a driveway so that cars could use it.  It stunned me in sadness for a moment…

I take great joy in shoveling a portion of the lake bordering my backyard.  It’s grooming an ice surface that I will recreate on.  It’s not meant for cars- it’s meant for fun. 

With an impending snow and ice storm I knew I had to shovel the lake today if I wanted good ice when the temps dropped.  A neighbor had shoveled a very small rink (10’x10′) so I was feeling a little more confident in spite of the fact that open water was 75 ft away.  I pounded the ice with the back end of heavy wooden snow shovel and slowly walked out.  No cracking noises.  Seemed firm.  I began shoveling.

As I shoveled I noticed huge wide cracks in one place–good sign–thin ice doesn’t crack like that.  What caught my eyes next were the footprints in the snow.

Coyote Prints on the Snow (michael plishka, 2008)

Coyote Prints on the Snow (michael plishka, 2008)

It was interesting that every other set of prints left a scuff mark in the snow, as if the coyote was dragging one foot slightly.  I kept digging and noticed foot prints under the snow, melted into the ice. 

Like an archaeologist I swept away the covering snow revealing the tracks below.

Coyote Tracks Frozen in Slush (michael plishka, 2008)

Coyote Tracks Frozen in Slush (michael plishka, 2008)

 I found two different trails, probably made on different days.  All trails, the fresh one on top and the frozen ones below, all led to the open water.  This explains why, even with open water, there were no longer any waterfowl on the lake.

As there is no cover for the bird along the ice, a coyote could, with favorable winds, (and winds from the north which is what we’ve been getting) sneak up on sleeping waterfowl. 

How this guy ended up gimpy and not totally lifting one foot, we may never know.  I do know that before I skate, others have “skated” before me…

My 69x61 ft rink three quarters done. Notice water/ice edge that footprints led to.

My 69x61 ft rink three quarters done. Notice water/ice edge that footprints led to.

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