Friday, January 02, 2009

Walking in a Winter Wonderland - Tracks in Snow

I got out into the woods again today and it was time well spent. With the temperature being between -2 and -4 and very little wind again it was good weather for being out. Today it was joined by a snow fall which got heavier whilst I was out before stopping at about half three.
It was a good chance for tracking, though of course not all the tracks were of wildlife!

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I came across this rather impressive growth on a birch tree not more than 200 metres into the woods
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This was no small tree and the growth was probably 80 cm across.

The woods are criss-crossed with trails, it is hard to tell if they are made by walkers, dogs, cyclists or other animals.

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I'd love for these to be deer prints but I've no idea, not very big and I didn't manage to find a trail so I may just be seeing things.
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Even with the snow there was still some greenery about - this lot looked to be beech shoots for the most part, very common in the underfloor in Polish forests.

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Whereas yesterday's tinder was a trapped branch with dried pine needles today I came across a birch branch with the papery branch peeling off. Always worth keeping an eye out for these trapped branches as the tinder in question is nicely air dried
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The snow fall got quite heavy when I was near the Southern edge of the woods.
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I had a go with making fuzz sticks using my control free method and what I think was a bit of beech wood. The lack of control meant that quite a few curls fell off and the blast match proceeded to knock more of the rest off. I am coming to the conclusion that the blast match is best for man made tinders. I managed to singe a few curls but not fire sadly.
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I went slightly off the path to play with the feather sticks I tracked my self back to the path. Pretty easy but this shows how much a print degraded in only twenty minutes.
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One of the interesting things to observe in snow is how clothing reacts. Modern materials tend to either shed snow or see it melt. On the other hand wool causes the snow to stick, indeed I have ended up with quite a crust on myself before now. A shot of my arm shows you what I mean.
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I dressed up warmer today with a spare shirt on underneath and my thermal leggings on as well as an extra, thin, pair of socks.
Just before leaving the woods I came across the biggest red squirrel I've ever seen - I think we startled each other. The prints it left were rather odd, almost like a one legged pogo moose!
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It was leaping on all fours and covering around 2 metres per leap. Fairly impressive for a little animal.
Finally a self portrait of me enjoying myself in the woods.
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2 comments:

forest wisdom said...

Great pictures. Your part of the world looks a lot like mine right now. I enjoyed taking this walk through the woods with you. Enjoying your blog very much. Peace, and Happy New Year.

GiuthasGeal said...

Hey there, Just letting you know that the birch growth is a Chaga fungus. It is a very important medicinal fungi. People use it as a fire starter but I feel its better used as a medicine. Peace.