While I was out I noticed these strange tracks that start and end out of nowhere.
Those are deer tracks along the righthand side, but I can't figure out what made the smaller tracks and how. They start (or end?) a couple feet away from the deer tracks.
After running sort of straight for about 12 feet, they run in a crazy circle that looks almost like a peace symbol. Some of the tracks in the circle are from multiple passes of the animal.
Then they just stop ...
I didn't see any blood, so it doesn't look like a bird of prey caught something, but that can't be ruled out either. The tracks could have been made by a little gopher that surfaced on top of the snow and then continued along underneath the snow. The snow is about 20 inches deep now. As I was examining the photos, I saw in the one above at the bottom center what looks like a place where a bird landed or took off just behind the dead leaves. If you look closely you can see the impression of wingtips in the snow. I welcome your suggestions as to what may have transpired to leave these mystery tracks in the snow!