Lynx Tracks in the Snow
We’re making the most of our backwoods road riding this month while we wait for winter to give up and let spring move in. The roads are still frozen and the frost hasn’t started working its way out of the ground yet. From last weekend to this, the ice has gained rather than lost area at the outlets and along moving water. It’s moving backward. Finding lynx tracks in the snow last weekend was a highlight of winter and a first for me.
Talking With the Warden
I talked with our local game warden about our trespasser and the lynx. He’s familiar with the lynx but hadn’t seen signs of him in a couple of years, and he was happy to hear he’s still around. They’re beautiful cats. I said I was 99.9% sure we’d seen lynx tracks, and he replied that they are “awesome and impressive. If you think you saw lynx tracks that’s what you saw.” On top of a heavy crust and with a little fresh snow on top, the tracks are the size of my palm.
The front foot is in front/on bottom, and the back foot steps on part of the front foot. It’s an easy size and pattern to recognize.
These lynx tracks belong to a cat in Topsfield. There are five sets of tracks near Grand Lake Stream. A few years ago lynx in the area were little more than rumors. We knew they’d move in eventually as these “endangered” (pffft No they’re not, that’s ridiculous.) animals with a small population continue to reproduce and spread out. If you’re standing on one side of the US/New Brunswick, Canada border they’re endangered. On the other side, in Canada, they are a species with a healthy and growing population. (off the soapbox now)
I learned during our conversation that lynx have hollow bones, part of what makes it easier for them to stay on top of the snow. A thick crust, huge round “snowshoe” feet, and hollow bones. How absolutely cool is that. There are two tracks below. The front foot is on the bottom, back foot partially covers the front. The scratch mark is consistent on the left side, and I think it’s the front foot scuffing the snow.
What Do Lynx Eat?
We know the lynx are around. They’re on two sides of us and have been for at least a few years. They follow the snowshoe hare population, their main diet. The hare population has recovered since the winter of 2014/15 when local hares were all but wiped out. I don’t know that they’d be a threat to the poultry or much of a threat to deer. Now that I’ve learned more, I’m less concerned about increased danger to my poultry. Interesting, the things you learn as a result of riding a backwoods road for an hour.
Backwoods roads were muddy this weekend so went to see elk instead. Elk. In Maine. Tis true. Instead of buying a side of farm-raised beef we’re considering harvesting a farm-raised elk. Thinking about it. I have pictures of course. I’ll share a couple tomorrow.