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Critter Corner

An inside look at some of the critters that inhabit Goose Pond FWA. Written by George Sly

February 2018
© All Critter Corner text is the property of George Sly. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to George Sly with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Critter Corner No. 12 – The Coyote by George Sly

By fogp | December 7, 2015 |

I must say, this is the first edition of Critter Corner I have had to begin by offering a disclaimer. But the fact is that few other animals generate the polarized love or hate sentiments engendered by Canis latrans. So, I have to begin by professing a degree of sympathy and admiration for this much…

Critter Corner No. 11 – The Common Snapping Turtle By George Sly

By bf_admin | October 17, 2015 |

I ran across one of these fellows on a recent trip to GPFWA. With water levels at their lowest, I espied a large animal moving across a small island between two shallow pools in the GP 11 basin. Training my binoculars on the movement, a huge common snapping turtle was revealed. Much like the image…

Critter Corner No. 10 – The River Otter by George Sly

By bf_admin | October 17, 2015 |

Goose Pond FWA has gained a well-deserved reputation as a site for spotting rare birds. Now we can add a mammal to the category of rarities. On Dec. 17th, 2015, during the GPFWA Christmas Bird Count, Sandy and Jeff Belth of Bloomington spotted a river otter on the property. CBC compiler Lee Sterrenburg noted that…

Critter Corner No. 9 – Eastern Cottontail by George Sly

By bf_admin | October 17, 2015 |

For this edition of Critter Corner, I’d like to shift gears and return again to consideration of Goose Pond mammals. Since the fall hunting season is well upon us, it seems appropriate to ponder the habits of one of the state’s most popular game animals – the eastern cottontail rabbit. This very familiar animal belongs…

Critter Corner No. 8 – The Common Water Snake by George Sly

By bf_admin | October 17, 2015 |

With the beginning of fall, and the anticipation of the frosty weather to come, this edition of Critter Corner is devoted to a common denizen of the Goose Pond wetlands who will soon enter its long winter nap. Normally by late October we will have seen the last of the Common Water Snake until its…

Critter Corner No. 7 – The Bullfrog by George Sly

By bf_admin | October 17, 2015 |

As all of us know, a visit to Goose Pond FWA can present us with an extraordinary visual banquet. The sight of thousands of Sandhill Cranes descending into their evening roost, the stately soaring of a group of American White Pelicans, or the blizzard of Snow Geese departing on a feeding foray are the kinds…

Critter Corner No. 6 – The Striped Skunk by George Sly

By bf_admin | October 17, 2015 |

On a recent drive through Goose Pond FWA, I saw a sad but all too common sight along the highway. Lying at the side of the road was the lifeless body of one of GPFWA’s most interesting mammals – a striped skunk. After spending the harsh winter in a prolonged state of inactivity, these strikingly…

Critter Corner No. 5 – Meadow Jumping Mouse by George Sly

By bf_admin | October 17, 2015 |

In previous editions of Critter Corner I have dealt with Goose Pond FWA’s larger and more economically important mammals. Most of these (muskrat, mink, and beaver) are typical wetland mammals. However, we should recall that GPFWA contains habitats other than wetlands. Much of the property supports restored prairie and old-field habitats. The latter we may…

Critter Corner No. 4 – The Beaver (Castor canadensis) by George Sly

By bf_admin | October 17, 2015 |

Like the previously discussed muskrat and mink, the American beaver is another mammal most everyone associates with wetlands. Chances are, if you spend much time afield, you have seen evidence of the presence of beavers in the form of gnawed trees, dams, or lodges. Perhaps you have been lucky enough to see the architects of…

Critter Corner No. 3 – White-tailed Deer by George Sly

By bf_admin | October 17, 2015 |

In the first two installments of Critter Corner we looked at mammals quite typical of the wetland habitat which comprises much of the Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area. These were the muskrat and its arch nemesis the mink. This time let’s look at a mammal which, at first consideration, would seem far removed from…

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