Sunday 17 March 2013. Tracking at Weaver Park in Late Winter.

On this solidly cloudy, 32 degree F morning, decided to have a dedicated ride on Blue to Weaver Park.

The form of the sun was completely obscured by clouds, and it didn’t get light out until nearly 7 AM

No Sun to See

on this first Sunday after the “spring forward” to Daylight Savings Time.  It was not a morning for sky color.  That and watering eyes kept me from taking in more of the sights along Main Street, though did get a shot of a clump of oaks of which I’m fond across from the Dart (formerly Solo) plant.

Oaks Across from Dart

Did pine for Meadowbrook Park and wonder what was happening there, but once at Weaver, there was of course plenty to see.

Rode Blue, which is a mountain bike, after all, a ways along the mowed, not paved, trail, but it was kind of hard going after a while and

Bumpy, Muddy Trail with Houses Visible, Weaver Park

got off and walked.  After walking a little way in, the sunken pond was revealed, and it was full of geese.  Even this pond, this hidden former buffalo-wallow (or so I’ve been told), was infested with (wild) geese, who made an impressive rushing sound as they took off to

Geese Heading away from Weaver Pond

  escape my gaze–trapped in this pit, they could not take the chance that I wasn’t a predator.  I did have mixed feelings about seeing them there; would have preferred ducks.  It reminded me of being in the middle of a subdivision.  Such prejudice!  They still are majestic and graceful even if ubiquitous and numerous, but they are so ubiquitous and so numerous!  Like people, I guess.

Also, there were a few red-winged blackbirds perched around the pond and vocalizing.  Mostly the vegetation was from last year, but some green shoots could be seen poking up at the edges of the pond.

Pond with Green Shoots

Saw some of the remains of last summer’s growth of prairie plants: Monarda, I think, yellow coneflower, bush clover, cup plant.

Last Year's Monarda, Weaver Park

Bush Clover Remains, Weaver Park

Saw tracks on the path, dog-like, though the toes seemed more pointed. It wasn’t very easy for me to read the tracks, even in the bare

Paw Track Resembling One from a Hoof

mud. Made me think of Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings being able to tell Hobbit tracks and all these things about what they did on a path that seemed covered with moss or rocks, or anyway nothing as form-preserving as mud.  Then saw two scats on the trail containing remains

Furry Coyote Scat
Seems to have been here for a while.

of obviously wild food: fur, plant material. These were almost certainly left by coyotes.  Also saw what might have been raccoon tracks

Coyote Scat with Plant Material?

(and shoe treads: other humans had preceded me).

Coyote, Human, Raccoon (?) Prints
Probably at least some of these are dog prints.

I’ve seen coyote scat at  Meadowbrook Park, also, but Weaver Park is, in a way, wilder than Meadowbrook, if only for having many fewer, shoe prints notwithstanding, human visitors.  Yet, there are a fairly large number of small, closely spaced houses right next to Weaver Park, lacking the spacious grounds around the bordering homes, for example, that separate Meadowbrook from its human neighbors.  Only a line of Osage orange (I think) trees come between human habitation and Weaver Park on the east side.  I wonder what these inhabitants might think of their close coyote neighbors.

As I exited Weaver Park and headed west on to Main Street, saw a vulture flying low overhead and toward the northeast.  Looking back over the park saw three more of them. No pictures, unfortunately; wasn’t fast enough for the close one, and the farther ones would have been too small to distinguish.

Hands and feet were getting cold on the way home. The price of winter photography.

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