Season Watch Newsletter: 10/6/2023

Happy October, you wonderful creature! This month, I hope you take a leaf from the maple tree's book: drop your burdens and rest for a while.

Wildlife etiquette tip: At formal occasions, please refer to Bobcat as Robert Feline.

FEATURE: Offal wildlife watching project

A shot echoes through the woods: a deer falls, a knife is unsheathed, and a short time later all that is left behind is footprints and a small pile of internal organs. Soon, even that disappears. What happens to it?

Dr. Ellen Candler and her team of volunteer deer hunters and wildlife watchers are using game cameras to find answers. So far, they've found that the gut piles (known as offal) are scavenged by at least 47 different species. The project depends entirely on volunteer deer hunters to gather images and on another team of dedicated volunteers to sort through the resulting photos to determine which species are present and what they're up to.

You've got to have guts for that kind of research!

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In the last week, heavy rain produced a profusion of fascinating fungi for our student phenologists to examine! At Long Lake, students got to wonder at a rapidly-growing Jack-o'-lantern mushroom and a giant puffball. Our 11 (!) reports also featured blue-spotted salamanders, ghost leaves, and some sneaky burrs!

Hear their voices!


Frost has been slow to come this year, but that hasn't stopped the maples from turning color and dropping leaves! John updates us on the seasonal progression of the forest foliage, and fills us in on the current state of the bird migration. The insect inventory included information on dragonflies, yellowjackets, and ticks.

Listen to John's report!

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I'm pining over pine martens again, my virtual friends. They are at the tipetty-top of my "desperately want to see" list, though I'd undoubtedly lose a finger attempting to find out if their fur is as soft as it looks. A weasel's gonna weasel, after all, and I could hardly begrudge my Best Beloved Mustelid for taking a digit or two in tribute.

This week's episode of pine marten pining was brought on by this envy-inducing video of an adorable pine marten eating suet in Crane Lake, MN. Needless to say, I immediately determined how long I'd have to drive to get there (about 4 hours). So, if you need me, I'll be sitting in the woods with a heap of suet and dreams for company. Wish me luck.

Come to me, you feisty little fur tubes!

Season Watch Photo Feature:

Sarah Renee Oja

Fly agaric (Amanita muscaria). Ojibwe: Miskwedo

Recognize this toxic mushroom by its vibrant red cap covered with white flecks. To confirm, look for traces of a veil on the stem. Never fear: it won't hurt you unless you eat it!

Bonus fact: Pine martens are pregnant for nine months, just like humans! However, the fetus doesn't begin developing until the last two months.

It's probably illegal to catch a weasel.

Northern Community Radio



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Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). The Trust Fund is a permanent fund constitutionally established by the citizens of Minnesota to assist in the protection, conservation, preservation, and enhancement of the state’s air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources.