Thursday, October 22, 2009

Marmota monax

I've been hearing rumors of groundhogs living in Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery. Recently I decided to mount my Wingscapes birdcam next to one of the presumed groundhog dens and leave it there for a few days.

The den is on a steep hillside near the monument for Horace Greeley. Lately, when I'm birding in Green-Wood, I take a detour to the den but never spot any of its inhabitants. There is clearly a trail through the wooded hillside to the den. I picture a chubby groundhog waddling back and forth through the leaf litter, its belly sweeping a clearing as it comes and goes. One time I noticed some fresh cut flowers near the entrance to the den. Apparently, after a recent interment, the groundhog stole one of the arrangements and dragged it back to his or her den. I'm not sure if it was going to use them for a salad or to brighten up its bedroom.

On my way out of the cemetery, I stopped near an area where the landscape crew stores clean fill, rocks and boulders. Marge, as well as, some of the workers have seen a groundhog in that area. I looked around for any trails or dens, didn't find any, but noticed a curious opening at the bottom of the door to a storage facility. It looked as if an animal had been going in and out, plus, there were little footprints in the dirt. I took out my camera, turned the flash on manual and blindly snapped a bunch of photos through the hole beneath the door. This is what my camera caught in the darkness:


Cute little thing. I'm pretty certain that Green-Wood Cemetery is the only location in Brooklyn where groundhogs a.k.a. woodchucks, whistle-pigs or land beavers still exist. BTW - the only thing my Wingscapes Birdcam manage to capture was a squirrel. I think I should start calling it my Squirrelcam as that's all it has ever photographed.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

Nice sleuthing!

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