The wildlife monitoring on Coldharbour is under way! 24 cameras have been put up along the fence line of the property that borders Highway 50. This is part of Anna Markey’s masters project as part of the Masters of Environmental Management Program at Western Colorado University. She has collected the trail camera photos and tagged the wildlife seen in them since the beginning of May. The biggest interest is in ungulates detected such as mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and elk (Cervus canadensis) in order to determine where they are most likely to cross Highway 50. So far, deer and elk have been detected in abundace but there have been some other fun suprises seen on the trail cameras. Striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis), coyotes (Canis latrans), desert cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus audubonii), a beaver (Castor canadensis), a badger (Taxidea taxus), and even a black bear (Ursus americanus) have been captured on camera on the property!
Most of the ungulates have been captured on camera at the East end of the property. It will be interesting to see if this is where most of the ungulates are detected especially during the fall/winter migration and the spring/summer migration. The highest species richness has also been seen closer to the East end of the property especially an area with a drainage culvert. The bear, a beaver, striped skunks, ducks (Anas spp.), mice (Peromyscus spp.), and even a house cat (Felis catus) have been captured using the culvert! This is good news because it indicates that this wildlife is avoiding crossing the higheay and a proper underpass would be well utilized by many species on the property. With the data gathered from this project, valuable information will be provided for future infrastructure on the property and across Highway 50 such as a wildlife overpass or underpass.
Blog Post and Research by Research Coordinator Fellow Anna Markey
Notes from the field of Coldharbour Ranch.