Take a walk in Frick Park on any day of the week and you will see evidence of the animals that live here. You may hear a rustle, see a flash of white and the rear end of a deer flitting up a hill. You might see a pair of red tail hawks circling overhead, a chipmunk or squirrel standing stock still as they pass. If you're really lucky, you might come across a seven foot wonder of a black snake sunning itself across a path, or a tiny green garter snake rustling through dead leaves.
Nine Mile Run itself is also host to animal life. A few tough species of fish can survive the adverse conditions in the stream. Muskrat have been spotted, and several years ago a pair of beavers briefly made their home in the stream. Crayfish and other water critters make thier home under rocks and in the muddy banks of its tributaries.
Animals are wary creatures. They don't want to be seen. It often takes a lot of time and patience to catch even a glimpse of one. But even if you don't see the critter itself, you can find traces of it if you know where to look.
Deer make their own narrow paths through the trees and brush and their distinctive hoof prints and pellet-like scat are easy to identify.
Bucks also like to rub their antlers on young trees—look for small trees with long patches of bark missing. Rabbits like to hang around the tangle of brush piles which provides them with a hiding place as well as food. If you look closely at the tips of the brush and twigs you may find bunny chew marks and bark stripped away.
Groundhogs and raccoons dig or move into dark burrows—hollow trees are a good place to look for raccoons (though don't get too close—they can be nasty) and groundhogs dig their way into brushy banks. To find a wild turkey, look for bare patches of earth— turkeys scratch up the surface of the soil looking for seeds and insects.
The best time to look for animal tracks is just after a snow—if you go out early in the morning you will see evidence of the activities of all of the residents of Frick Park.