Tracking at the Oregon Sand Dunes

Water is a Tracker’s Best Friend

I pulled my nose a bit closer to the bone dry, deeply fissured clay and squinted slightly in an attempt to get a better look at the tracks that lay before me as the sun reflected off the clay into my eyes. Jonah Evans, a veteran wildlife tracker and biologist with the Texas Parks and […]

Posted in Wildlife and TrackingTagged , ,
caterpillar on milkweed

The World of Insects

It’s common knowledge that monarch butterfly caterpillars eat only milkweed, but did you know that many other insects also feed exclusively on this host plant? Munched milkweed leaves could also be the work of (among other things) milkweed tussock moth caterpillars (Euchaetes), milkweed longhorn beetles (Tetraopes), milkweed weevils (Rhyssomatus), or swamp milkweed leaf beetles (Labidomera […]

Posted in Scientific Musings, Wildlife and TrackingTagged , , ,
snake

The Predator

Along the trail’s edge a predator waits. Its keen senses are sharpened by hunger and it constantly tests the wind for a trace of scent that might mean food. Then from a distance, it feels vibrations of something big, and it determines that this large non-food thing is going to pass close by. There are […]

Posted in Scientific Musings, Wildlife and TrackingTagged , , , , ,

Rabbit Tracks and Sign

It was mid-January in Western Washington, and the snow was coming down hard on my yurt seven miles up the mountain from town. The power was out, the roads were treacherous, and no end was in sight. It might have been my imagination, but I swore I heard all the wildlife trackers in the area […]

Posted in Wildlife and TrackingTagged , , ,

Indicator Species

What is this telling me? As a tracker, this is one of the most powerful questions I can ask to go deeper into the story of a track or outwards into the bigger picture of how an animal fits into its ecosystem. For example, running across a set of 3.5″x3.5″ wolf tracks in Idaho in […]

Posted in Wildlife and TrackingTagged , , ,
mountain lion

Mountain Lion Tracks

The morning was gray, and the group was full of tension and excitement. It was day one of the CyberTracker Track & Sign Evaluation with Mark Elbroch, one of the first in North America. So, perhaps it’s not surprising that I was a little on edge. At the three forks of the Snoqualmie River in […]

Posted in Wildlife and TrackingTagged , , ,
Mountain Caribou Initiative Team

Nature Connection as a Gateway for Change

In 2005, I came to Anake Outdoor School to find an empowered connection to the living world. Over a decade later, I am fortunate to work here helping people as they find that for themselves. It was here that I deepened my love for this part of the world, and made connections with amazing friends […]

Posted in Stories of Gratitude, Wildlife and TrackingTagged , , , ,
brown recluse spider

How to Identify Venomous (not Poisonous) Spiders

Venomous Spider: The Black Widow When considering venomous spiders and spider identification, the first one that comes to mind is the Black Widow. In North America, there are around five species of the Black Widow spider. You can easily identify the black widow, especially the female, because of it’s round, bulbous belly. The female Black […]

Posted in Survival Skills, Wildlife and TrackingTagged , , ,

Coyote Tracks and Sign

The two animals trotted south in the wet sand along the ocean’s edge about 60 feet up from the beach. They passed over the spot where a bald eagle had landed, by the carcass of a seal, across a stream that flowed out of the woods and down the beach and into the ocean. They […]

Posted in Wildlife and TrackingTagged , ,

Ecological Interactions and the Bullfrog

Amphibians are key players in ecosystems on every continent except Antarctica. They contribute to both terrestrial and aquatic nutrient cycling and energy flows that hold ecosystems together. In particular, they are excellent and efficient converters of food energy into growth and reproduction and serve as both predators and prey. Tadpoles, for example, convert detritus (decaying […]

Posted in Scientific Musings, Wildlife and TrackingTagged , ,