What You Can Discover on A Winter Nature Walk
We try to get outside and explore every day, even during the winter. Once you know what to look for, exploring nature can be just as interesting in winter as in summer. Here are a few things that we found on our recent winter nature walk.
Winter is a great time to observe lichen. We found this yellow lichen growing on a wild apple tree.
We marked some leaves with yarn back in fall. It’s not surprising that these leaves are still on the tree, since oak trees have a tendency to hold on to their leaves during the winter.
This looks like it could have been a coyote track. Coyote tracks are more oval than dog tracks and you can form an X in the negative space. You can clearly see the X here, but I checked my husky’s tracks and you can form an X in them, as well. I do know that our dog didn’t make them, though. Coyote’s also travel in a straight line (like these tracks did), since they need to conserve energy. Dogs tend to meander.
Squirrels and other animals tear apart pine cones to eat the pine nuts inside. Here’s a small pile of pine cone scales in the snow.
Here’s a larger stack on the end of a tree branch. There were also black walnut hulls mixed in. I can imagine the squirrel sitting up there and feasting away. There was also a pile under the tree, but I forgot to get a photo since I was more concerned with videoing at the time. These stacks of pine cone scales and nut shells are called middens. They seem to be most often made by red squirrels, but I want to go back and see if I can catch a glimpse of the busy little squirrel myself.
If you want to see more of our nature discoveries, check out the video below.
For more things to look for in nature check out my monthly nature calendars.
We saw a lot of the same things this week! Our snow is gone, and there isn’t much in the forecast for a while, but it was so fun while it lasted to take a walk like the one you showed and see those same natural signs.
That’s neat! Since I started being more interested in observing signs in snow, I’m eager to get outside when I notice new snow.