Sunday, 21 December 2014

Who was in the backyard?

Our big event was early Wednesday morning (7:35 a.m.) as hubby was on the phone canceling the car maintenance, an hour and 87 km away! It was above zero last night, then the snow changed back to rain. Then, it was just below zero. Our driveway was a 100m skating rink!

Pink = freezing, blue =  snow, green = rain!
As he talked to the service peeps on the phone, looking out at the trees drooping with ice, he saw what he thought was a large German Shepherd crossing our backyard. Yikes!
We have no domesticated dogs that run loose. There isn't much for them in the wetland!

Out I went to measure the tracks, at hubby's suggestion. (He has a bad back!)

The keys to identifying a track (coyote vs. wolf)  lies in the number of toes, and the size of a paw print, as well as the tracks themselves. Then, if you can see the claws, that means it is likely canine (like the ones below), as opposed to the large wild felines. Domesticated cats, fishers, raccoons all show their toes, as do the coyotes and wolves.

Another clue, figuring out who is hibernating (bears), and who is estivating (squirrels)! I'm thinking the raccoons would well be awake again! Reptiles brumate, since they are unable to regulate their body temperature.
These wolves were in the store - sadly stuffed

So far, knock wood, our CoyWolf won't track across the backyard in the daytime. (It does in the dark!) It went across the back yard this past week. He chased a deer up onto the lawn this year [March 26 - during a long winter], and paced back and forth across the back, refraining from coming out into the open in the day. He was impressive to watch! Fearing coming onto the lawn.

 I'd rather have a wolf than a coyote because the coyotes are getting used to people and civilization. There have been horror stories from those in the cities, with pets disappearing.

Wednesday's tracks were quite distinct. The coyote's outer two toes are larger than the front. In the wolf, it is the reverse. Mine looked about the same. Coyotes cannot bring down a deer. Wolves, in a pack, can. We have a lot of road kill and our CoyWolf has hauled a body back into the bushes to feed.

Measure Coyote CoyWolf or Eastern Grey Wolf Mine
Paw length 6 cm 7 - 9 cm 12 cm 7.6 cm
Paw width 4 cm - 6 cm   10 cm 4 cm
Stride 38 - 40 cm   66 cm 48 cm
Snout narrow  hybrid broad  
Shoulder height 45 cm   76 cm  
Body length 100 - 120 cm 120 -  150 cm 150 - 180 cm  
Ears pointed   rounded  
Weight 11- 20 kg 14 - 35 kg. 32 - 45 kg.
25 - 45 lbs. 30 - 55 lb 70 - 100 lbs

Another clue: the scat. I've seen some 4" long, with much fur (a coyote) as well as 6" long (a wolf). I'm sure we have a larger canine in the area, during my walks through the forest and wetland.
I can only conclude that our visitor was a hybrid that tends to be in southern Ontario. That's what I hope. I'd rather it be a CoyWolf than Coyote!

Land-clearing and exploitation by people, following European colonization, resulted in lower Gray Wolf or  Eastern wolf populations in the southeastern United States and the larger population in central Ontario and southern Quebec.

A permanent ban on the harvesting of wolves (and the similar looking species, the Coyote) in 40 township surrounding Algonquin Park was put in place in May 2004. Eastern Wolves (and therefore Red Wolves) are very small in size compared to the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) living in the boreal forest north of Lake Superior in Ontario.
Hairy fox poo!

Two Arctic Wolves – sisters – needed to be to be
taken in by Aspen Valley. 
Zoe the coyote at Aspen Valley


  • (A) Establish the Line of Travel - toes in front!
  • Stride -  right heel to left heel (A)
  • Length of Track - toe to toe.
  • Length paw print (C)
  • Width - of the paw print (D)
  • Straddle -  how far the prints stray from the tape measure/centre line
  • This is how one measures PITCH
  • Pitch - green arrow

    Saturday, 20 December 2014

    This was a beautiful moment: a buck and a yearling

    A buck has been visiting us, highlighted by the motion sensor floodlight, he arrives after dark. I'm trying to figure out if it is our Tigger from 2010. We'll never know. He doesn't have any scars I can see. Here he is in a video from 11 mos. ago.
    I have a few photos of him!

    Tuesday, Dec. 16 9:00 p.m.

    The ice rain made the tree branches droop

    Wednesday, Dec. 17 5:18 p.m.

    Thursday, Dec. 18 7:35

    I learned my lesson and had the tripod ready to go! Notice how the branches have lost the weight of the ice.

    Friday, Dec. 19 4:30 p.m.

    Friday, he surprised me. Hubby was just lying down for his afternoon nap, and I said "If you want to see our buck..." It was so nice of him to arrive just before dusk. I'm thinking it could be Tigger, or his brother, but they are so hard to tell apart. Perhaps, we'll just call him Sir!
    Beyond Sir, the meadow
    Tigger bounced when he was a yearling. We seldom got bucks before Tigger came around.
    He is a handsome one. They only live 3 -5 yrs, on average.
    This time he heard something in the forest.
    This was truly heartwarming, on a damp, cold night!

    Bambi & friend from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
    Bambi was eating, when he began watching something in the forest. We saw a CoyWolf Wednesday, and wondered what he was watching. Bambi deferred to the yearling. This seems to me to have to be a fawn who is a yearling. Sir was so calm, and deferred to the wee one.
    Usually, even the mothers whack away if a fawn is in the way! At 0:48 sec. he sniffed at the babe, and walked away.
    His buddy came right up to the feeder. He took off and began eating the bird seed in the front yard.
    The females just whack away at the young 'uns. Sir was so gentle.
    She just whacked her fawn. 

    Saturday's Critters #53

    Friday, 19 December 2014

    Paint Party Friday

    Another delightful visit with my client. He's such a sweetie. We chatted, I told him some silly self-deprecating stories and he laughed at my follies. I told him how I still hadn't seen a Snowy owl. He spotted one in his backyard from his bed. I was so happy for him.
    While we chatted he would doze suddenly, and I took out my sketchpad.
         "What are you going to draw?" he asked.
         "I don't know!" Taking out a magazine, I spotted a stuffed pink unicorn on the top of a Volkswagen, a gift of some sort. Also, a lovely landscape.
    He wanted to see my drawing as I made progress, in between dozing off. Then he wondered where my traditional bird was, I threw in some seagulls!
    He told me a joke. He said he teases his son, who is about my age, and he'll stare out the window and say, "If you want to see a deer..." then pauses... "this isn't the time!" By this point his son has run to the window and is disappointed!
    It's not out of the question. One day, out in the backyard grazing on their gardens, were a herd of Scottish Highlander cows!

    Art should be like a holiday: something to give a man the opportunity to see things differently and to change his point of view. 
                 -Paul Klee, painter (1879-1940) 

    Here she be:
    P.P.F. Week 41 Year 4

    Cat walkies - tracks tell another tail

    Daisy and I went forest bathing, again. The colours are pretty dreary, but there was lots of action in the night.
    It was a wet day, with temperatures hovering above zero C. and Daisy was pretty bored inside. I told her there was some drizzle, but it'd be good for us. First we went to the frog pond, where the coyote/wolf has been checking out the Muskrat lodges. We followed its trails around the perimeter of the forest, as did several critters.
    The five-toed tracks are either fisher or mink, or weasel.  There was a pair of them. One larger than the other and they walked along side, not on the same track.
    Poor hubby put his back out, again. These photos are to show him what's going on in our forest!
    More on the coyote/wolf tomorrow!
    Hurry, Daisy.
    Can you spot her on the trail?
    Pretending to be an owl for me, again!
    She loves height
    Five toes - fisher?
    Daisy stepped in this track,
    my two fingers are as wide as her paw. 
    My photographer friend thinks
    our canine friend grabbed a rabbit!
    Her third tree climb!
    Of course, deer tracks and droppings!
    This looks more like the rear leg of a raccoon
    First sign of blood
    A large 5-toed and a smaller 5-toed track!