St. Michaels Farm Preserve – Tracks and Scats

St. Michaels Farm Preserve is located in Hopewell township, with entrances on Rt. 569 and Aunt Molly Road.

Link to NJ trail map and description

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Snow melt and spring rains mean muddy trails, which is great for spotting animal tracks!  White tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, leave distinct tracks along the trail.

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Black Walnut, Juglans nigra, nestled between multiflora rose, Rosa multiflora,  and Lesser celadine, Ranunculus ficaria.

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Lesser celadine, Ranunculus ficaria, in bloom.  This pretty little invasive was brought to America as an ornamental.  Its ability to thrive in varying light and moisture levels made it apt to escape and soon it began invading

It is a fast grower and is easily able to out-compete native spring ephemerals.  It is often found along river banks and form thick covers, often emerging before other ephemerals.

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Skunk Cabbage, Symplocarpus foetidus, a beautiful and odoriferous native.  The foliage of this plant contains crystals of calcium oxalate, which is toxic to many vertebrate species.  However, some animals, such as snapping turtles, will eat the young plants early in the spring.

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Coyote (Canis latrans) Scat…  It looks like the coyote ate a bird and probably a rodent.  The scat was fresh and I could actually hear the coyote(s) not too far from where I found it.

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