Orange County trackers are invited to send us short stories accompanied with digital photos of their tracking related hikes or related outreach programs for our youth. Show us how you are using your tracking skills to get our youngsters interested in nature and we will publicize your outreach efforts here. We will also post an occasional special "mystery track" on this page and perhaps a trail story for their entertainment.

For a science-based reading list for youngsters interested in learning more about nature click
This was the first "mystery track" we challenged our Junior Trackers with on this page. In the photo we asked you what species was involved and what was going on, and we gave you this clue: "This track was found in front of a 3' tall storm drain located not far from Irvine Regional Park."
THE ANSWER: The track belongs to the hand of a child, possibly a future junior tracker, as he or she emerged from the mouth of the storm drain while cautiously exploring in the area.

This is the left and right webbed-foot of a gull that was crossing from our left to our right.
Junior trackers who spent a day at the beach this summer probably saw this track in the sand. Do you recognize it and do you know that while we often see this track we never see it being made? Do you know why we don't see the track being made?

Tracks like this are often found in soft sand and they were created by Antlions which are members of the Myrmeleontidae family. It is the larvae of the insect that is crawling beneath the surface of the soil that creates the trail as the soil caves in behind it.
Junior trackers who have ever spent some time walking in the woods, particularly near a stream or pond, may recognize this "sign" of one of our favorite animals. If he sees you first he may make a loud smacking noise with his tail before disappearing.

Beavers (Castor canadensis) feed on the bark and cambium layers of small plants and will chew through an entire tree to gather material for their dams.
Several masked suspects left their tracks in the road as they were making their getaway.

Can you identify them?
This picture of one of OC Trackers' youngest members was taken recently in the gardens at Kilkenny Castle in Kilkenny, Ireland where she reported seeing tracks of sheep, horses and some birds.
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OC Trackers' instructor Gigi recently led an introductory tracking walk in Round Canyon for some animated youngsters from Orange County. Photos of that event follow...

These are the tracks of four raccoons, walking roughly side by side in what is know as a 2x2 gait as they crossed the roadway. The larger, more mature coon was on the center left.
OC Trackers recently provided two days of training on basic tracking skills to a group of young ladies from the Early College High School. These college bound students were preparing to visit a South Africa Nature Preserve as part of their research on various carnivore species.