Gliding Through Pinkham Notch

March 23, 2017

Frozen WetlandWhile staying at Joe Dodge Lodge, I explored the woods beside the beaver pond across the road. Deep snow earlier that week revealed recent animal activity— red squirrel middens, snowshoe hare scat, and wind-blown otter tracks along shore. I set up 2 wildlife cameras to see what might venture by overnight.


In the morning I set out to retrace my route. As soon as I reached the beaver dam, I found fresh otter sign—bounding web-footed tracks and slide marks. 


I followed the otter trail downhill towards one of the cameras and found a second set of tracks coming the other way made by a smaller animal. 


The bounding gait and the 2-2 track pattern told me it was another member of the weasel family. A fisher? Too small I thought. A mink? The AMC staff had talked about marten sightings at the visitor center.


Dark twisted scat look like it could be from either a marten or a mink.


The tracks headed up a rise, crossing some firmer snow that showed the animal’s footprints more clearly.


At the top of the rise, the animal started a long straight slide down—an impressive 40 feet to the bottom and headed for my second camera!


(Photo from the first camera) River otter


(Photo from the first camera) River otter


(Photo from the first camera) Mink


(Photo from the second camera) Mink

Text and Photos by AMC Nature Notes Guest Blogger

Allison W. Bell

Co-author of AMC’s Field Guide to the New England Alpine Summits

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