Rainy Beach Tracking

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Saturday June 17, 2017

On Saturday June 17, we headed to the shoreline of Lake Huron north of Sauble Beach. We were greeted with a light rain and very high water levels. The terrain was a mix of sand and marsh along the shoreline, and a mix of cedar, white pine and tamarack within the treeline.

Our first discoveries were not mammals, but frog tracks and a grub. The mystery around the frog tracks was around the orientation of the front and rear tracks. Some folks thought the rear tracks were oriented in the opposite direction? It reminds me of a Hound Dog story I heard:

     My hound dog was so keen, he leapt off the porch straight after a coon. Runnin’ across the field he run through a scythe. Split it clean in half. I got to it fast as I could, slapped him back together and sewed him up tight. Poor fella took a good month to mend, ’till he was as good as new. Cepten’, in my hurry, I done put him back together back to front. Now he runs on two legs, and when he gets tired, he flips over and runs on t’other two.

Anyway, the second discovery began as a mystery in the sand. There were veins of different diameters running in the sand. Alexis took a tracking implement to break off the top to reveal a tunnel. He then pushed it to the end of the tunnel where he pushed a burrowing grub the size of half a little finger. I wonder if its edible.

     As we headed back along the breezy shore, we crossed the body of a woodcock. Aside from the insects, the body was intact; no sign of predation. Apparently they will fly straight up if spooked. Just within the treeline Alexis and a couple of others flushed out a snowshoe hare. I don’t believe them. I didn’t see nothin’.

We lunched on the rocks at the shore to escape the muskitas. Then we headed out onto one of the peninsulas that frequent these shores. In spite of zigzagging, tiptoeing and plenty of oohs, and ohs, few managed to keep their feet dry in the flooded grass. And if they did, the downpour that hit us later sorted that out. In spite of that, many endeavored not to get their wet feet wetter on the way back.

There were a couple of finds of note on the peninsula. First were what appeared to be large chicken eggs. They were whole, except for one inch holes. Alexis noted the small holes in the lining of the shells, suggesting that they were preyed upon by birds. Jays, crows, ravens? the eggs belonged to geese. The second was a couple of pieces of strange bone or cartilage with pencil eraser shaped bumps on one side. Todd later contacted me with some info. They turned out to be teeth that are located by the gills of a fish – pharyngeal teeth. Now I have the satisfaction of knowing something no one else on my block knows. Thank you Todd.

     A good time was had by all.

Written by 2nd Year Apprentice Victor Ceni

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