Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Running Naked

Rain in the forecast and already starting to sprinkle by the time I headed out for today's run.  I chose to use the screw shoes today but not until after working on replacing a few of the worn screw heads with new ones.  I even added a few extras because yesterday's ice was so treacherous.  The ice, today, was less slick because of warming temps and no sun to cause glistening ice.  The screw shoes had fantastic traction and never felt in danger of taking an endo.

By running naked (my reference in the title), I was not talking about my choice of clothing but rather that the iPod was left home today.  No music, no podcast, just the sounds of the outdoors.  I was pleased to once again come to grips with another aspect of what makes trail running so enjoyable...the sound of the woods.  Today there was the honking of the Canada Geese as they took turns taking off from the open river stretch they've been frequenting.  Also the wind in the tree tops, rain on the fallen leaves, woodpeckers drummimg....I had been missing  this by turning on the iPod.  Good to be back!

While running, a glance down provided another blast to the past...an owl pellet.  This is what remains as indigestible (bones, hair, feathers) of their prey and is expelled in pellet form from their mouth.  By dissecting the pellets, sculls and bones can be keyed to determine what the owl has been eating.  I did a rather extensive field project while in college to compare the food habits of  a couple Great Horned Owls in Clear Lake to a different couple in Ames.  I went on to devise an importance value for each the different prey, based on an technique I had learned in class for deer browse patterns in brush.
owl pellet with some rodent leg bones exposed
  10 miles today with rain at the beginning and end but fairly pleasant and dry in the middle.

No comments:

Post a Comment