About 30 minutes after dark a single Badger appeared and began snuffling and digging around in front of me.
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.
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.
At another location in Nattavaara a Brown Bear had killed a Moose calf. I took some pictures of the tracks and measured them.
They were 16cms wide and so this was quite a large bear.
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.
Myself and Erik walked in the forest. We eventually decided to stop and make fire,
and cook coffee and some lunch.
Close to where we made fire, we found a couple of really nice Birch burs.
Later during our walk, we found a site where a fox had killed a Capercaillie.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There was still a layer of ice under the water so I wasn’t too difficult to get across to the lake.
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.
We spent the evening fishing, but did not catch anything.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.