Success!!

About 30 minutes after dark a single Badger appeared and began snuffling and digging around in front of me.

badger

Fortunately I can use my Little Acorn camera as a standard camera when I want to sit and take pictures and the night vision facility means I can take pictures in the dark.

badger

It was only there for a few minutes before moving on.  I am waiting for a new fall of snow so that I can track it back to its set.

badger-3 (Medium)

At another location in Nattavaara a Brown Bear had killed a Moose calf.  I took some pictures of the tracks and measured them.

brown bear front paw print

They were 16cms wide and so this was quite a large bear.

brown bear hind paw print (Small)

 

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People say that there are no Badgers this far north….or are there?

While out in the forest I can across an area of disturbed ground.  I immediately found a foot print which (from much experience in England) I knew to be Badger  Meles meles. 

grävling

I know of a couple of people who have seen Badger in Nattavaara over the last couple of years, but most people say that they do not occur this far north.

I found many nose prints in sand, from where the Badger had been using its nose to smell and disturb the sand searching for food.

badger nose prints

Here is a close-up of  nose and foot print.

badger foot and nose print (Small)

Now I am going to try and get a photo of the Badger.

5 days at my cabin – day 5

I had left my Little Acorn camera out overnight at the cabin to see if any animals came to visit.  I was surprised next morning to see that a Reindeer had been to visit in the middle of the night.little acorn camera reindeer

Myself and Erik walked in the forest.  We eventually decided to stop and make fire,

fire in the forest (Small)

and cook coffee and some lunch.

lunch in the forest (Small)

Close to where we made fire, we found a couple of really nice Birch burs.

birch bur (Small)

Later during our walk, we found a site where a fox had killed a Capercaillie.

fox kill (Medium)

I could not understand why there was a lot of mouse droppings in one are, but then realised that this was actually the crop contents and that this bird had recently been eating Birch leaf buds.

capercaillie crop contents (Medium)

We spent the afternoon fishing but again did not catch anything.

At 6pm we loaded our kit in the valp and Erik gave me a lift to my car.  As we drove along the track I had walked to the cabin on, I spotted fresh bear tracks.

brown bear tracks

The tracks were from the previous day and it was not a particularly large bear that had made them, so if we had travelled in the opposite direction the previous evening we might of seen it.

brown bear tracks-2 (Small)

A cold weekend at the cabin

Spring is going to be late this year.  A cold north wind has been blowing for three weeks now and although the sun lifts day time temperatures just above freezing, at night temperatures can still go down as low as -30 degrees.

I arrived at the cabin Friday evening and made fire in both the kitchen stove and in the fireplace.  After a couple of hours the cabin was warm and with a night time temperature of -20 degrees I kept the fires going all night.

Early on Saturday morning I cooked breakfast; potatoes, sausage, eggs and onions.

breakfast at cabin

I spent some time ice fishing, but it was very cold and I caught no fish, so I decided to do some photography.

There were several different birds coming to the bird feeder and I particularly wanted to photograph Siberian Tit and Siberian Jay.  Siberian Jay’s were not so difficult to photograph.  After standing for 15 minutes they came to feed.

siberian jay

siberian jay-2 (Medium)

To get VERY close to the Siberian Tit’s, I put a reindeer skin on the snow, and some food just in front of me and laid there and waited for them to come down.  It proved more difficult than expected to get photo’s of them because they kept flying down and sitting on my head!!  Eventually they came for the food.

siberian tit

siberian tit-2 (Large)

On Sunday, while out in the forest with my snowmobile I came across some very strange tracks.

capercaillie spore-1

I called my friend and neighbour at the cabin Erik, and explained what I had found and he drove out immediately to take a look.  Eventually we deduced that the spore was that of a displaying male Capercaillie.

capercaillie tracks in snow

We followed the tracks on our snowmobiles and found this fine print where the bird had originally landed (from the right you see where the tail touched the snow, then where the body impacted and finally the imprints of the wings, then he walks away displaying).

capercaillie landing

This is what the display looks and sounds like.

A few photographs

To coincide with starting my new photographic blog; http://naturallorephotos.wordpress.com/

I thought I would put up a few pictures taken recently.

First a couple of sunrises as I have driven to work

In this next picture I am heaping snow up around a cabin to act as additional insulation.

Here is one of the seven reindeer we have at Solberget Vildmarksbyn

This next picture (for me) provides lots of  interesting information once you understand how to interpret it….

This picture shows spore from a Black Grouse landing in the snow.  From the right lower corner of the picture you see first where the Grouses tail mark in the snow, then above it you see the tip of the right wing and then marks from the whole of the right wing and at the same time, the body coming into the snow.  Then you can see footprints as the bird lands and the impact point as it lands into the snow (with left and right wing marks).  Finally the bird turns around and runs away out of the top right hand corner of the picture.

The next picture is of the tipi at Solberget, with a glowing fire inside

and finally here is a picture of a cabin at Solberget at dusk, with a the full moon behind it.

Solberget Vildmarksbyn

 

Yesterday I began working as a tourist guide at Solberget Vilmarksbyn as part of a work experience scheme with the local job centre.

Yesterday we took guests out on a ski tour around the local marshes.

We could not travel across the marshes because the ice was thin and there was water under the snow.

Water on skis freezes immediately and has to be removed.  Fortunately Dirk had a gas burner in his rucksack

We heard and found much evidence of Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus).  In the picture below they had been feeding on Birch buds

Willow Grouse have feathers on their feet so you cannot see toes in their tracks

In this picture a Willow Grouse has landed in the snow (you can see the wing pattern) and then run away.

We also saw many Red Squirrel tracks

After three hours, we returned to Solberget Wilderness Village

After the Reindeer had been fed this morning

we headed off into the forest on another ski tour to the top of Solberet (Sun Hill translated to English).

We skied uphill for about one hour until we reached a cabin and fire-watch tower

Once inside the cabin we made a fire

and had lunch

After lunch we returned to Solberget.

Roe Deer and a new use for a parachute.

This morning when I went outside I saw a lot of fresh tracks near the door and on the garden.  On close inspection I could see that they were Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) tracks.

There were at least two individuals and they had walked all over the garden

They had also dug down in the snow to find food

They had even been to inspect the new garage I have built for my car using three poles and a parachute.

As you can see from the pictures, it has been snowing quite a bit now and the temperature outside  as I write this is -20 so I need some protection for my car.

I keep my parachutes wrapped up individually in dry-bags and after randomly selecting a parachute to use, I was pleased to find my Fiskars hatchet (which I thought I had lost) at the bottom of the bag!  The last time I had used the parachute was when teaching a group of children firelighting skills here in Nattavaara and some of the children had helped me pack my kit away.  At some point one of the children must have put my hatchet in the bag before the parachute was put in.