November 2006 Highland Center

This season started out promising with a nice snowy ground cover here at the Highland Center at Crawford Notch.We led our h
ikes through this wonderland, Chickadees were busy overhead as we discovered tracks in the snow left behind by Wild Turkey’s (Meleagris gallopavo) big and small, White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), Coyote (Canis latrans), and Snowshoe Hair (Lepus americanus)The Beavers’ activity has increased, evidence was seen by fresh cuttings and draggings around Ammonoosuc Lake and seems to be on the rise. Two have recently been witnessed swimming around the lake in the early morning as well as late in the evening. Our hikers also witnessed a Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) in the woods, as well as Eastern Chipmunks (Tamias striatus) in numbers, Hairy Woodpeckers (Picoides villous) and a Kingfisher. As the month progressed our snow cover was lost due to warm days and rain. Although that did not stop the Gray Jays (Perisoreus Canadensis) from having some fun trying to dip into (or trying to!) hikers snack packs on all our surrounding peaks. We were delighted to find a family of Northern River Otters (Lutra Canadensis) as an addition to our Saco Lake community. We watched three swimming and eating, and also found their scat upon the trail. The Otters (Lutra Canadensis) on Saco Lake are indeed using the old beaver lodge as their home and may have some young within. The snow soon returned and with it our newest (wild?) addition, Crazy Fred the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes). It seems un-intimidated by human presence and even approached people for handouts, which we strongly advise against. Eastern Chipmunks (Tamias striatus) and red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) continue their busy work, leaving their tracks along our trails. While the Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) were filling our air with their distinctive calls. The majority of the rivers as well as waterfalls have begun to freeze and the frost pillars are found all along the trails around the Highland Center Crawford Notch. The snow once again melts away leaving us with rain and mud with thick patches of ice in sections on the mountain trails.Trekking poles or minor traction came in handy for those short sections.