Along the Natchez Trace

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday Morning...

 Thought I'd start today's blog with a picture of the new Gator....
Yep!  That's me in the driver's seat.
I didn't like using it at first...  the doors were still on it and the noise inside the "cab" really bothered me.  Bill took the doors off and now the sound isn't nearly as bad.  Also, it makes getting in and out much easier having those doors removed.
This Gator was bought mainly because during the winter months the trails are used for cross-country skiing.  Those trails need groomed and the apparatus that makes the trails smooth is dragged behind the Gator.  The old Gator is open...  no windshield, no heater.... pretty bare-basic.  (It's a real work-horse and is still in use).  This new vehicle is pretty snazzy!  I'm starting to like it, but probably won't be using it much.  Often volunteers get the old, kinda worn-out vehicles, but the guy who does most of the trail maintenance has been doing it since there were trails here in the 1990's.  He's about 80 years old now and still gets out there and takes care of the trails.  Not only that, but I saw him last weekend at the visitor center...  he told me he had just got his potato crop planted for this season.  He sure deserves some comfort out there on those trails when it's zero degrees and deep snow!

Not exactly a Gator...
That's Bill taking the Skid-steerer back to the garage.  He'd been digging holes (you can see the auger in front) to set the new informational kiosks in.  He and Kirk got all 5 of them set yesterday.  Notice that Bill has a net over his head.  The black flies and mosquitoes have been really bad lately.

We got some new signs recently...
The old one had been here forever...  really faded and peeling.  It looked pretty shabby.  This new one sure spruces up the entrance.  This coming weekend in the Northern Maine Birding Festival so we'll be doing a lot of "sprucing up" this week.

I finally got my game cameras set out yesterday afternoon.  There are 4 in various places on the refuge.  I've done this for several years now, so while I do trade them around some, I have these four placed in what is usually high traffic areas...
By "high traffic" I mean lots of wildlife.
This moose wandered across the cameras view this morning around a quarter to 4:00.  I'm going to have to check the time as it sure looks dark in this photo.  

This is a collage of cropped pictures from the same camera...
This black bear was captured on the camera around 6:00 last evening.  He's not a real big bear...  maybe a year or two old.  I say "he", but maybe a female.....  don't know.

Joanne asked how I tell the critters apart.  Well, that young bull moose I've been seeing has a place on his left hip that the hair sticks out ...  looks like it could be because of a cyst or abcess or something.  Last year a bear had the hair missing from much of its backside.  Sometimes I'll notice a scar or a different color pattern.  I know where the bear with 3 cubs hangs out...  and where the bear with 2 cubs is likely to be.  When the bulls have those big racks, sometimes there will be a crooked tine on the antlers.  Guess none of these is hard and fast, and truth is...  sometimes it's just a guess.

This morning I saw a cow in the Nine Thousand area...  there's a good chance it's the same one I saw yesterday...  often a critter will stay in the same area for a couple of days before moving on.

I'll see if she's still around tomorrow.

That's All For Today!


  1. I would love to see all those animals just roaming in the wild.

    You look like a lady on a mission in that Gator.

  2. Sure do enjoy watching the animals in the wild too, its been a few years since we were up north,
    Gotta love those new toys!

  3. It's always fun to see what your "wildlife camera" catches! Love seeing the bears (from here). hee hee.

  4. I can tell a few chickadees apart in the winter by markings, but they are the only birds cheeky enough to get close enough. I can tell my chipmunks apart by which way they run to go home.

  5. I hope Bill raised that auger for the photo...looks a little high up to be moving!!!

  6. That gator is a beauty! You are so right about volunteers getting the worn out vehicles. The first one I was assigned was a Ford Explorer, with a nick name of "The Exploder".

  7. What a great job! We've been enjoying "working" as museum hosts in Port Orford, Oregon, but we don't work near as hard as you! We see lots of birds, seals, and whales.

  8. I like all your pictures, even the ghost moose. Thanks for sharing.

  9. We still have our head nets from our summer in Maine!! I don't think that we've used them since. I suppose that many bugs is one of the reasons for the many warblers. Love the new Gator as well.

  10. That looks like fun, driving those mini's around, like the one Bill's got with the auger. But those black flies, I can't even fathom living with those around in swarms.