• Erin

A VERY LOCAL TRACKING MYSTERY

I work from home (now - in the covid era) in a room with two north facing windows and an east facing window. The walls are knotty pine paneling. The view out the north is a currently-blooming camellia with a years-old bird nest in the center of it, a tenacious goji berry and beyond those the fence line and neighbor's home; house sparrows often lining the neighbors gutter and awning.


I glanced out the window during a Monday work-day and noticed what looked like, but couldn't be, a rope of scat on top of the fence post. I continued my work, but at the end of the day it caught my eye again and in the early evening light, I went out with a chair and stood upon the chair to see what his really was.


It was a rope of scat. It was a tracking mystery. Delivered to our home during a time when, due to covid quarantine, we aren't leaving much, or perhaps during a time when we are noticing more.


Deposited by someone who had had a furry, boney meal. It spanned (and overlapped!) the 4x4 and the 2x4 that were sistered together. A surprisingly big (6" long at least!) deposit for the types of animals I'd expect to be on top of a fence post.


We've found quite a few leftovers of meals enjoyed by the stray cats around here lately. The less enticing parts of rodents left on our driveway and walkways. We see stray cats wander through our yard often; it's one of the only yards without dogs on the street.


I'm curious though if a cat, known for burying their poop, would accept the awkward position of balancing on a fence post as their loo? Especially when they have our entire garden just around the corner to dig and poop in (to my dismay).


I paged through Mark Elbroch's Tracks and Scat of California looking for clues. Cat didn't really fit but neither did anything else. I have all the supplies here for making a tracking box and that may be the next step...




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