Welcome to Harts Pass: a comic strip about life (and wildlife) in Washington's North Cascades!
kickstarter project here....three weeks to go!
This has been a busy field season and this is a long overdue posting. We have a fabulous group of wildlife biologists working extremely hard on the project and they have been walking trails and setting cameras to collect scat, hair, and photographic detections of Cascade red foxes and wolverines from the Indian Heaven all the way to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
Recently, following up on reports from the park service of a mother Cascade red fox and her pup spending time on the north side of Mt Rainier, one of our team, Sean O'Donovan was able to visit the area and locate the den site. He spent many hours observing the foxes and took the photos above. YOu can see that the female is a cross-phase fox and the pup is a black, also called silver, phase fox. From his and an additional visit, we were able to collect quite a few scat and hair samples, which will be sequenced and genotyped in the lab later on to see if there are any additional pups and hopefully who the father is. These data will also help to determine if foxes on Mt Rainier are connected to other populations, such as those in the William O Douglas or Goat Rocks Wildernesses. Look for more information next spring...
We have been working at lower elevations on Mt. Adams this winter to clarify the lower elevational limit of montane red foxes in the Cascades. As a result, we are surveying the habitat of some new carnivores such as the wily coyote. Interesting, we have captured pairs of coyotes as several stations as this must be the breeding season.