Many marvels of the natural world….

Posted by SCC on Monday, May 21st, 2012.

Out there beneath the endlessly changing shades of the heavens –under the bright sun, the wind, the clouds, and the rain- our crew from the Crew Leader Development Program were the greatly privileged witnesses of a great many marvels of the natural world. In the midst of our hard, labor-intensive work, we always gave a moment of our day to be filled with wonder and reverence for these rich surprises… these grand and seemingly limitless wonders.

Sometimes these surprises came as small things –an unusual cactus growing stubbornly in some sweltering scree of rock, the tiny, luminescent fossil of some long vanished clam, or a plethora of strange and marvelous mineral rocks strewn like gleaming gems in the clay… Sometimes they were grand things –trees old and kingly, mountains broad and towering, castles of rock weathering away in the desert… But whatever their proportions, these sources of awe and joy were seemingly limitless, perhaps because we were prepared to be awed and ready to be joyed by such sights and sounds as we were gifted by in our time working for the Southwest Conservation Corps.

There is far too much to tell of, far too many beautiful and strange things we beheld and sensed as we interacted with the natural world. But what we can be sure to recount of and list in some sort of measurable fashion are the animal species we either saw, heard, or found signs of along our way. We have included here some superb photographs of animal tracks we found imprinted in the mud along a stream we were working by, each photo accompanied by a caption explaining their origin.

-          Written by Joseph Ortega – CLDP Member – 5/8/12



Grey Fox (Urycon cinereoargenteus) DETECTED: Tracks photographed in Dry Creek

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) SIGHTED, DETECTED: running in a field near Cortez, CO. Tracks photographed in Dry Creek

Coyote (Canis latrans) SIGHTED, HEARD, DETECTED: a sound of the night-fallen countryside, numerous tracks, several skulls and several sightings.

Puma, Mountain Lion, or Cougar (Puma concolor) HEARD: a female in heat was heard yowling on the Old Fort Lewis Sight near Hesperus, CO

Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis) SIGHTED, DETECTED: Several sightings and one set of prints found.

American Badger (Taxidea taxus) DETECTED: Many holes dug around our work sites belonged to badgers

American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) DETECTED: Several superb sets of prints were discovered and photographed in Dry Creek. Bear scat was also seen.

Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) DETECTED: Although a foreign and invasive animal most commonly found in regions like Texas, Florida, and southern California, the skull of a Wild Boar (not a domestic pig) was found on a work site and confirmed by CDOW specialists.

Rocky Mountain Mule Deer (Cervidae) SIGHTED, DETECTED: A common animal but seen in impressive numbers. Many bones, skulls, and antlers of this species were found on or adjacent to our numerous work sights.

Elk or Wapiti (Cervus canadensis) SIGHTED, DETECTED: A herd of nearly 80 animals was seen in Dry Creek. Many spoor left behind in their wake, such as bones, dung, and antlers.



Bear, Fox and Coyote tracks in the mud!



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