He looks at it.
“Hmm,” I say, “a bundle of what looks like fur and bone...bones, fur, fur, bones, in a little bundle under a tree, could it be a...”
“Owl pellet!” he says.
“Yes!” A shiver of joy runs through me, a reaction to his joy in suddenly realizing that he is seeing and recognizing something as cool and telling as an owl pellet.
We reach for twigs and start poking.
Let's see. Leg bones and hip bone. The long bone is a tibia. The little "spur" on it is part of the fused fibula. The large bone at the top is part of the pelvic girdle; the round depression is where the head of the femur articulates.
And here's the lower jaw. Obviously a rodent with those long incisors, big diastema (gap) and three molars behind. The teeth are cuspidate (they have enamelled cusps like human teeth) rather than prismatic (what voles have, with triangles of dentine surrounded by ridges of enamel). So it's not a vole. It's probably a small rat.
Digging around a bit in the fur mass, we find another jaw and much of a skull. Back home, comparing these photos to images in field guides and online sources, I'm pretty sure it's a rat. Lord knows this island is crawling with Norway Rats (and probably Black Rats, too).
We've seen a Great-horned Owl in the same place, so that would be a likely source of the pellet, but Barred Owl is a possibility too.
The pellet, although somewhat disassembled, remains where we found it, for some other parent and child to share.