An earlier post had a brief description of the Allegheny Plateau that occupies much of northcentral Pennsylvania and presented photographs of some of the wildlife that utilizes a faint wildlife trail below the rim of the plateau.
The rim of the plateau could be described as an ecotone. An ecotone is the boundary between two or more different habitats: the shore of a lake, the transition from forest to field. In this case the transition is more subtle, from a forest dominated by chestnut oak with an understory of mountain laurel on gently rolling terrain to a forest of black birch and red maple, with a few white pine, oaks and hemlocks mixed in, on a steep slope with no actual understory.
Ecotones provide the “edge effect” often mentioned in popular writings about wildlife. The edges are valuable to, and often attract, a wide variety of wildlife because they offer a range of food and cover throughout the year.
Along the rim of the plateau is a trail that appears to be heavily used by wildlife – a good spot for a camera trap. And so I placed a camera trap aimed along the trail. The gray squirrel population is at the peak of one of its population cycles and the camera’s memory card had an abundance of squirrel photographs –
Because of the plentiful prey in the form of gray squirrels the camera on the rim had photos of predators: eastern coyotes –
And bobcat –
Those weren’t the only species caught by the camera trap, so too were wild turkeys –
White-tailed deer –
And black bear –
Thus it went through late summer and into the fall.