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)

 

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)

5 days at my cabin – day 4

I spent the morning gathering wood and splitting logs.  Late morning I heard a vehicle and eventually my friend and neighbour Erik appeared.  He had been ploughing the road to our cabins with his military valp and it was nice to see that I would have some company.

military valp

He drove up to his cabin and made fire to get the cabin warm and then came to join me for coffee at my cabin.  Later in the afternoon we decided to try and walk across the marshes to another large lake.

kevin warrington lapland

There was still a layer of ice under the water so I wasn’t too difficult to get across to the lake.

frozen lake-2 (Large) frozen lake-1 (Large)

As we walked back across the marsh there were quite a few Wood Sandpipers, Spotted Redshanks and Greenshanks feeding there.  This Green shank sat up in a tree watching us.

greenshank lapland

We spent the evening fishing, but did not catch anything.

out fishing (Large)

Later in the evening we drove around in the forest (the Valp will go just about anywhere!!) looking for birds, Moose or bear but we only saw a Capercaillie.

laplander valp (Small)

New bird species for the year were a pair of Smew on the cabin lake, a Dunnock and a Rustic Bunting singing at the cabin.

Canoeing

Emma has been out with me birdwatching and looking for animals

and the other evening we found a Beaver (Castor fiber) so I decided the following day to take my canoe out on the river to get a closer look.

It was a calm day, but there was a strong water current making it difficult travelling up river,

however being carried back by the current was much more enjoyable.

I found a beavers lodge on a small island in the river

and a female Goosander and 3 Whooper Swans

Where the river widened I sat and listened too two Brown Bears fighting and chasing around in the trees

but I never managed to see them.

There was a beautiful sunset as I paddled along the river

and as my journey ended the moon came up over the trees

Raising the cabin and a bears den

Last weekend I stayed at my cabin with my friend Hasse.  We were there to finish the work to raise the back half of the cabin, to make it level with the rest.  All the doors and windows had to be opened to avoid damage as the cabin moved.

We used an hydrological jack to raise the cabin and inserted pieces of wood on top of the pillars to keep it level.

The rear of the cabin had to be raised by 4cms and we had to make some adjustments to windows to make them close again.

We found an old piece of kitchen worktop when we moved to our house and this proved ideal to fit into the cabin kitchen

My friend Eric was at his cabin and was keen to show me a bears den not far from the cabins.

The bear had excavated its den under an old ants next (which apparently they often do) and it had removed some very large rocks

Here is a close-up of the entrance

and here is a picture inside the den

On Saturday evening we made a big fire, grilled sausage and drunk some bear and whiskey

5 days at the cabin in April 2010 – Part 3

I spent quite a lot of time in various locations just sitting and watching for birds and animals.

I saw five Reindeer moving along the edge of the lake and was rewarded on the evening of 24/4/10 with a brief view of  a Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa) flying through the trees.

The following morning I walked into the forest to try to find evidence of a nest or young, but although I found nothing there were many fresh bear tracks

I also logged up a couple of fallen Birch trees to provide fire wood for next year.  I am also planning to make alterations to the inside of my cabin and the area in this picture

will become the sleeping area with beds also in the loft area.  I have been doing much measuring and planning and work should begin in June.

Moving to Sweden

I’m not planning to work at all during my first year in Lapland but will instead spend my time  learning to speak better Swedish, making new friends and contacts, making crafts to sell and I have applied to work as a volunteer for the Scandinavian Brown Bear Research Project but as yet I have had no response.

Although I do not plan to work full-time, in 2011 myself and Johan from Nordic Bushcraft are planning to run some courses together and I will be looking for other opportunities for part-time work, so if you have business in Lapland and you feel my skills and knowledge are  relevant please get in touch for a chat.

I will again be visiting Jokkmokk’s Marknard this year which takes place the same week I arrive in Lapland (that is no coincidence I can assure you!) to buy skins, leather and other goods for making crafts items.  If you will be there on Friday or Saturday  and are interested to meet up then please email me.

Lapland autumn 2009 – 24th September part 1

The morning started with me sanding cups and Teres sewing leather bags

making cups and leather bags (Large)

The temperature was -2 degrees and it had been -7 in the night but at least it was sunny

sunny morning (Small)

After cleaning the cabin (as it would be our last day there) we decided to go walking in the forest, to the peak behind the cabin.

out walking (Small)

The forest is so quiet for birds at this time of year but is very peaceful listening to the wind in the trees.

walking into sun (Small)

and from time to time we could see back across the lake

a view to the lake (Small)

As we walked further we noticed that the berries and leaves had been stripped from the ground flora which is apparently typical of bear feeding.  A little further on I looked to my left and saw a fallen spruce with the root plate raised vertically

bears den in forest (Small)

at the base of the root plate was a large hole in the ground which was a bears den (bjorn ide in Swedish).

Bears ben (888 x 668) (Small)

I got to about 30 metres  from it but could not get a clear photograph and unsure if the occupant was at home I was unwilling to get any closer!!  You can see part of the hole slightly right of centre in the picture below.

Bear den closeup (592 x 445)

You can learn more about the Scandinavian Brown Bear here

Lapland Spring 2009 – 26th May

I wanted to get more video footage so spent the day filming.  I began by filming birds around the cabin.  A male Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) was a new species, flying low over the cabin. This is a Northern Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula pyrrhula).

Northern Bullfinch

After breakfast I walked over to the marsh to film the Common Crane and the sounds of wading birds displaying.  I crossed the marsh and headed into the forest.

in the forest (Small)

When you are deeper into the forest it is incredibly quiet for birds and the animals disappear before you can get close to them, so I made my way through the forest to one of my favourite spots where the forest has been cleared and there is an observation tower to sit in.  As I came out of the forest I was walking around this tree stump

Caper nest (Small)

when a female Capercaillie jumped up from her nest and almost knocked me over.  The nest contained 6 eggs, slightly larger than those of a chicken.

Caper eggs (Small)

I was filming the nest when I heard something moving in the forest and I could see the brown back of a mammal moving along behind a ridge.  As I watched a head appeared and it was a Red Fox.  I filmed it as it came towards me to investigate but when it realised what I was it turned and ran off.

As I walked up to the tower I saw a Moose feeding on trees along one edge of the clearing.  I filmed it briefly but then it saw me and disappeared into the forest.  I climbed up onto the tower

in hunting tower

and watched for movement across the open clearing

cleared forest (Medium)

A Black Woodpecker flew into the clearing and landed on a tree stump ( a new species in Lapland for me) and another Moose walked across the clearing grazing on Birch regrowth.

I was walking back through the forest and decided to check out a small area of marsh.  As I walked through the trees to the marsh I heard something running across the wet ground.  I walked onto the marsh and stood watching where the animal had run into the forest.

edge of marsh (Small)

I looked to my right and noticed the moss had been disturbed and when I walked to it there were a clear line of tracks going across the marsh………bear tracks…….very fresh bear tracks

Bear print (Small)

How did I know they were fresh?….well when you tread on the moss it compresses and water fills the hole or track.  Gradually the moss rises again (rather like a sponge) and the water disappears.  When I first found this track it had water in it.  I saw or heard nothing more but this is the closest encounter I have had with bear so far.

Birds of note;  I male Rustic Bunting around the cabin, 3 Willow Tit and 1 Whooper Swan on the lake in the evening.