Lect 6 scats and tracks, walk debrief 2013

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The basics of fauna identification through the usage of field guides, tracks and scats.

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Lect 6 scats and tracks, walk debrief 2013

  1. 1. OEEDU5003 Connecting with Nature Week six Tracks, scats and reviewing the walk.
  2. 2. Tracks, Scats & other Signs
  3. 3. TRACKS • What are the best surface types to find tracks? – Snow, mud, sand, creek banks, road side dust, dried puddles, beaches • When is the best time to observe tracks ? – In the morning, can estimate age of track by amount of weathering • What does size of track show? – Juvenile/adult, male/female? • What are the different structures of feet? – Toes, claws, number of pads, arrangement, amount of foot on ground, shape of print • Sand boxes
  4. 4. Gaits • What gaits do Australian species use? – Hop, bound, run, jump, waddle, crawl, slide or creep • What does stride length show? • Gaits of introduced species? – Walk, trot, gallop • Using Triggs book, have a go at ID’ing A to G, pp. 8-9 • Check your answers!
  5. 5. Who did these??
  6. 6. Scats: Carnivore • Characteristics? • Cylindrical (sausage) shape, fragments of bone, twist of hair at one end of scat • May have white chalky substance on outer layer (from bones) • Strong odour • Variations in scats: diet, seasonal change, age • Territorial markers
  7. 7. Scats: herbivores • Lots of herbivores! • Look at the size of the poo. • What’s in it? Marsupials extract moisture – dry grass in poo. • Consider main diet – Koala (leaves). • Consider place – Wombats wipe their bum! • Kangaroos and Wallabies groom – so can have hair mixed in. • Koala rarely and Wombats never groom.
  8. 8. SCATS • Why is scat ID important? • Identify species of animals in area (many nocturnal animals) – Also what eaten & when • Guide to animal size, weight, age • Herbivores – general characteristics? • dark brown, black, dark green – Fibrous plant material – Large quantities – Weathered: lighter color – Usually groups of pellets
  9. 9. OTHER TRACES? • Shelters: open grassland, hollows in trees, under logs, burrows, tunnels, grassy nests, caves, forks of trees (coppice), house cavities • Claw marks, diggings • Landing places • Paths • Bones (anatomy similar) • Effect on vegetation
  10. 10. Borhoneyghurk Common
  11. 11. A transformed landscape
  12. 12. Understanding landscape controls • Rocks own the site (largely determine what can occur. Soil over time?) • Climate manages the site (water critical element in SE Aust. Creates and limits possibilities) • Biota occupy the site (subject to rock and climate influences) • Aspect imposes site restrictions (north sloping vs south sloping) • Humans???
  13. 13. Reflect on the trip (pairs) • What aspects of this trip were useful in developing connections? – Contrast with a canoe or climbing trip? – What is the role of knowledge? Eg, flora, history. – Role of experiential elements? Walking, looking, camping? • What made sense and worked best for you?
  14. 14. Assessment items - progress? • The Nature Diary (3 visits minimum) – Place? – Visits to date? – Frame of reference? – Reflections on connection to place? • Final due date and presentation summary October 17th .
  15. 15. Assessment items - progress? • Assessment 2 – What are you planning on doing? – Need to see me about trips now, so you can start planning – Do you need time in class to present?

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