Saturday, 23 May 2009

Snow, ice and wolves - part 4

Basically, this our fourth full day, was to be a travel day, as we moved areas in order to try our luck in a totally different part of the country.

Our first stop was by a river where we hoped to find sign of beaver. And beaver we found! There was plenty of evidence of beaver gnawing through trees and we found a couple of slides where the trees had been dragged down to the river.

You can see the teeth marks on this stump! (above)

One of the things about European beaver is that they don't build dams. Their lodges are built into the banks and are, in effect, underground. One of the guys managed to find the lodge - by putting his foot through the roof! Luckily beaver are used to repairing damage to their homes. We didn't see beaver in the flesh but we did see where there feet had been :)

We did also find plenty of mink tracks as well as the anal secretion from our beaver friends. I don't think I'll post a picture of that though!

Time to move onto a wildlife sanctuary run by a conservationist who is very keen on reintroducing the lynx back into the wild in Poland. It was a slightly strange place with lots of different enclosure for things like elk, deer, wolves and grouse - an eclectic mix of species to say the least. We entered the park through one enclosure which housed some very friendly elk. So friendly they would give you a good barging if you had the audacity to ignore them! Lovely creatures that could make a very plaintiff and quiet noise but could also do you a lot of damage if they wanted to.

We then moved onto the wolf enclosure and had very good views of the wolf pack and its behaviour - from the aggression of the alpha to the apparent 'aggression' of the omega wolf who would bare its teeth as if it was being aggressive but was, in reality, just reaffirming its place in the pack. Fascinating to watch.

Needless to say we spent quite a bit of time watching the wolves interact with each other and with us!

This is when it started to get a bit surreal. The owner said that he takes a rehabilitated Lynx out for a walk and would show us except that he had left his lead at home. Well being trackers and bushcrafters we soon knocked up a lead. He disappeared off and we were hanging around to see him walk his Lynx on the lead. Well, we were wrong on that score - the first thing we saw was a very high speed Lynx go shooting past us followed a minute later by the owner with his dog on the lead! Not only that but he also had a young deer with him too. It turns out that the deer and the Lynx were best of friends and played together all the time.

Like I said - a bit surreal but a brilliant thing to watch them play and chase with each other. Awesome!

,, ,


sam_acw said...

Fantastic pictures, glad you had a great time. The snow seems so long ago now!

Pablo said...

Great stuff, Jon.

Jon said...

Thanks guys - the time is just flying by Sam!