I went out for the first time this season listening for owls but had no luck. Last year on this date I heard five. The snow depth is about a third more.
Last week, my friend Steve and I snow shoed across the valley from my cabin to Wyoming Falls. As we crossed the Soda Butte Creek, a trail of ermine tracks paralleled the bank. Back in the timber we came across squirrel tracks that emerged from a low tree cavity. We reached the Bannock, walked half a mile east, then headed up stream towards the falls. Snowshoe hare, marten and another set of ermine tracks dented the snow. The falls was frozen solid but still beautiful. Well worth the effort and a reminder that I need to come back in the spring when it is swelled by snow melt.
Today Steve was back and we took a quick snowshoe above Upper Barronette. We were searching for sign of boreal owls. Moving up slope we circled numerous deadfalls. The snow would hold solid for a dozen feet then suddenly collapse and would seemingly swallow us up. Lots of old marten and moose tracks. Ermine and squirrel were the only fresh sign we found. It took a lot of searching to find our first tree cavities and none of them seemed large enough for boreals.