Welcome :) Follow my blog as I explore the mammals of Nova Scotia!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 10 - Cook's Lake

Weather: Overcast/Very Foggy
Temperature: 40s

Congratulations to David S - Sociologist of the Day- for correctly defining a matriarchal society!

I woke up this morning to a raging fog that covered the entire area of Cherry Hill. It was really cool. It had rained a little over the night and you could actually hear the waves crashing on the shore at the end of the road! We raced to eat breakfast so that we could set out to our new research site... Cook's Lake.

It takes a little while to drive out to Cook's Lake, probably an hour and a half or so. Well we were driving along and all of a sudden a Bobcat ran across the road! We couldn't believe it! I wasn't able to get a picture of it so I "Googled" one for you here. What an exciting animal to see. We knew there were some around here but they are pretty good hiders so its rare to catch a glimpse of them.
The Bobcat

When we arrived to Cook's Lake we had to hike in about a mile with all of the bins of traps, our lunch, and anything we needed for the day. The trail was pretty muddy in some places but with my huge rubber boots I could walk right through it! We saw a lot of neat things as we walked. I will explain more about all of this when I return to school but for now I want you to look at the pictures and tell me what you think they are:

Specimen A

Specimen B

Specimen C

Specimen D

Specimen E

One more question: do any of you know the difference between antlers and horns?

Can you tell Lycos likes learning about bones too?


Cook's Lake is an old farm that was established on "Crown Land" meaning it was land given to early settlers by the King. It was given out to encourage settling in the new land. If you were given land, there were several things you needed to establish year after year to keep the land. For example in your first year on the land you needed to start clearing trees and build a shelter on it. I will tell you the whole story about this when I return, but it is really interesting and will fit in nicely when we start talking about exploration later on this year in Social Studies!

Farmland at Cook's Lake

After dropping off our traps at an area near the farmland, we went on a hike to explore the area around us. As we walked, Dr. Christina explained a lot of the history of the area as well as about the wildlife that live there. Interestingly as we were walking we came upon very fresh coyote droppings and a dead vole. It looks like the coyote had caught a little snack but was disturbed by us coming so close, so he dropped it and took off! I started wondering what else was out there listening to us ... and watching!

We hiked in to Cook's Lake and observed a lot of beaver damage to trees in the area. There are several beaver lodges in the area so there was definitely evidence of them working hard!

Cook's Lake

Beaver Damage

Beaver Damage

After the hike we had a quick lunch and off we went setting traps again. This time we are hoping to catch some different species in addition to the red backed voles you have seen. Here we have jumping mice and woodland mice so I am excited to see what we are able to catch! The area here is obviously very different from East Point Medway so I was a little unsure of my trap placement. There was much less to cover the traps here with unless you were in the woods. We'll see how it goes tomorrow when we check them!

The trap setting went well and then it was off again to the accommodations for dinner and a talk about data analysis. I know some of you are excited to find out how we calculate population size from the data we collected... so here you go! One of the methods we used is called the Lincoln/Peterson Index. Can you find out what the equation is and think about how you might use it?


At March 23, 2010 at 10:36 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The difference between horns and antlers are that antlers are an extension to the skull of some animals, such as members of the deer family. Horns aren't an extension to the skull.

-Steven K

At March 23, 2010 at 10:38 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Antlers, on members of the deer family, are grown as an extension of the animal's skull. They are true bone and are a single structure They are generally found only on males. Antlers are shed and regrown each year.

Horns, found on pronghorn, bighorn sheep, bison, and many other bovine, are two-part structures. An interior of bone (also an extension of the skull) is covered by an exterior sheath grown by specialized hair follicles, as are your fingernails. In fact, your fingernails and the exterior sheath of horns are made of very similar materials. Horns are never shed and continue to grow throughout the animals life. The exception to this rule is the pronghorn which sheds and regrows its horn sheath each year.
"The Difference Between Antlers and Horns." U.S. National Park Service - Experience Your America. Web. 23 Mar. 2010. .
Brad R.

At March 23, 2010 at 10:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Horns are permanent and are made out of the same stuff as our fingernails while antlers are branched, and are shed and regrown every year. They are also made out of a more boney material.
Maddie S.

Yeah, that's right David!

At March 23, 2010 at 10:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You find how many animals are in a certain area and you multiply that by how many times that goes into the area they live in.

t is the total and a is number of times the area goes in and p is population in that area
Adam P

At March 23, 2010 at 10:50 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ms. Smith!
Looks like your having a great time:) The traps seem like a really cool way to find data about these animals!
To answer your question, antlers and horns are actually quite different. Antlers are bony structures that project outward from the head. This is also true for horns, but horns are permanent, and they are attached to the skull of the animal. In contrast,antlers shed, and are usually only found on males.

Melissa K.

At March 23, 2010 at 10:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Smith!
To correct your grammer, you need a comma after well because it is an introductory element. FIX IT! And to answer your question, antlers can be shed, but horns stay on the head of the animal for the extent of their life. Also, they look different. Antlers are like tree branches. Horns are more like a hook. Have fun!
-Julia G and Rachel G

At March 23, 2010 at 10:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Lincoln Peterson Method is a way of estimating the size of a population from capturing animals. The equation is N= MC/R....N is the estimated population, M is the total number of animals captured. C is the number of animals captured the second time, and R is the number of animals captured on the first visit and also on the second visit.

I looked that up by the way. Just incase you didn't know.

Maddie S.

I just out Davided David! OOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

At March 23, 2010 at 10:55 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Lincoln-Peterson index is the oldest method used. It was first established by Peterson (1896) to determine mortality rates of fish, and was then
used by Lincoln (1930) to study the population size of waterfowl. Begon (1979) states that the equation used by Peterson and Lincoln was based on the notion that a mark is made on individuals in the first sample and then returned to the population allowing these individuals to then remix with the population. Emigration and death can equally affect both the marked and unmarked individuals; therefore, the marked proportion remains
constant. In the next sample, the numbers previously marked are then compared to the total sample size, and these proportions can be used to determine the size of the entire
This is just a guess.... pretty good, right?

David S

At March 23, 2010 at 10:55 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


At March 23, 2010 at 10:55 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ms. Smith the difference between antlers and horns is antlers fall off in the fall and then grow back in the spring. Horns don't fall off. Specimen A looks like a dear skull to me. I don't know what specimen B is. I think specimen C is a jaw bone. Specimen D looks like raccoon foot prints. I don't know what type of scats that is.
- Jackie B.
P.s. cool you got to see a boob cat!!!!

At March 23, 2010 at 10:55 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi ms. smith! How is it in Nova Scotia?! I BET ITS REALLY COLD THERE BECAUSE WELL YOU KEEP telling us that its like 40 degrees! Well ITS ACTUALLY PREttY NICE HERE EXCEPT THAT its raining right now but its nice because my mom said she would buy me some new rain boots if it keeps raining like this! YAY. Miss you lots :) :) :) :)

-Vicky A.

At March 23, 2010 at 10:58 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Smith,
It seems that Cooks Lake is pretty cool. I can't believe you saw a Bobcat! To answer your antler vs. horn question, I believe that antlers are shed every year, while horns are never shed.
Jack G

At March 23, 2010 at 5:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha I was just about to copy and paste the same exact thing Brad did when i realized they beat me.

-Matt B.

At March 24, 2010 at 2:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is cool that you saw a bobcat. I hope you are having fun on your trip.

Sam D.


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