Monday, February 25, 2013

Tacking Lynx

                                                                    The North woods

My dad and I went way up into Maine this weekend to track Canadian Lynx with Walnut Hill Tracking. We went out with Nick and Valerie (the owners) for a Fisher tracking course last year, and decided on the Lynx course this year. We traveled to Moosehead Lake, the gateway to the Maine Wilderness for the tracking course. From Greenville, we traveled to the "Golden Road" the Maine logging road which runs north from Maine towards Quebec. The day prior Nick and Valerie scouted the road and picked up the Lynx trail. The north Maine woods are an incredible place, and this magical creature embodies the spirit of this frozen land. I can't explain the feeling of following this animal for a day, just sharing its space for that time brought me back to everything that has fascinated me with nature for my whole life. As we followed the Lynx through the thick snow covered spruce forest, we saw sign of the other winter creatures of the area; mainly Snowshoe Hare and Spruce Grouse & Ruffed Grouse. (Lynx's main food)    

Lynx track vs. human hand 

Lynx track's 

I found it interesting how little anyone knows about this Eastern population of Lynx. Nick and Valerie  noted that much of the Lynx studies were done almost 20 years ago, when only a small Canadian /  upper Maine population of cats were present to work with. With an increasing population today there are still only 2 collared cats generating data. As such, we really have only a very limited perspective of what is happening with this species in the East. 

                                                                      frozen wetland area
                                                                         Spruce forest
                                                               Nick measuring tracks. At this point the Lynx changed it's stride and pace, for what reason ? Who knows ???
                                                                          Lynx track
                                                         Riley and Valerie checking sign
                                                    Measuring the gate of the tracks. As Lynx are studied on such a limited basis, the information gathered is extremely useful for a current understanding of size for this Eastern population.

Vigorous training was necessary for such an expedition. As with anything, we applied ourselves to long hours of technical  study prior to departure.

                                                              Leaving the woods

It was another wonderful program with Nick and Valerie. I recommend anyone I know to attend one of their courses. Such an amazing experience.


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