Beech Marten infrared conundrum

Beech Marten infrared conundrum

I’m still having major problems getting a full-bodied picture or film of our resident Beech Marten (Stone Marten). When the camera’s there he can see the IR light and thus backs away – he can even see the range of it. When I remove the camera from the attic he’s back to his usual noisy stomping tricks.

Any suggestions?

Autumn bushcraft in the Carpathians

Autumn bushcraft in the Carpathians

When I’m at the village house I go to the forest at least twice per day, usually morning to retrieve the trap camera and just before dusk to set it. When I’ve got chance I also like spending the day time wandering about in the woods looking for edible fungi.

This weekend we took the kids in to collect some nice leaves for an art exhibition I’ve got coming up. Whilst there my son found just over half a particularly large lynx skull – sadly not including the teeth. That’s now sitting in a bucket of water and bleach in my garage.

The colours of the forest at this time of year just cannot be explained in words. It’s utterly mesmerizing.

White-backed Woodpecker?

White-backed Woodpecker?

Whenever I’m alone in the bush, there are several species of birds and animals which always keep me company – the Raven and Lesser Spotted Eagle fly above the trees making their calls (sometimes the eagle flies through the forest and its wing beats send whooshing sounds through the leaves), woodpeckers knock on trees, Jays scream at each other and Red Squirrels jump about playing with their nuts. And of course there are plenty of little tits….

When I was a kid back in England, the sounds were different, with the Wood Pigeon and the Pheasant being the dominant noise makers.

In the area around my house we get multiple species of woodpeckers, and most are easy to identify – the Green, the Grey, the Black, the Lesser Spotted – but there are other species which could be one of several. The woodpecker pictured here is, I believe, a White-backed (Dendrocopos leucotos) as it misses the vertical stripes seen in other species, such as the Greater. Then again, it might not be. If anyone can clear up this matter I would appreciate it.

Edible Dormouse in Humane Trap

This is one of my resident Edible Dormice (Glis glis) from the attic. It’s the second one I’ve caught using a cage-type humane trap. They’re not very intelligent, unlike Pine Marten, so a simple piece of salami suffices and there’s no need to disguise the scent of the trap.
This little fellow will be going on a long drive where he’ll be released. They’re extremely cute but they’re very noisy and destructive – many people think their homes are haunted due to the sound of running feet these make above the ceiling. My house sounds like a race track some nights.

A couple of interesting things about Edible dormice – the Romans ate them roasted in honey as a delicacy, and they can regrow their tail like a reptile. They’re also the only member of the Glis genus… That was three things, wasn’t it?

Amazing Immense Eurasian Lynx trailcam footage

I knew there were Eurasian Lynx up in the heavily forested hills surrounding the village but I didn’t expect to find such an immense one wandering around a few hundred metres behind my house. I filmed it in the little wooded gully where I captured badger, pine marten, red squirrel, boar and red deer on the trailcam. It really made me think how often I’ve been kneeling down in the dark and damp with thick tree canopy above me not realising what might be looking down on me. They eat deer…

There’s never been an attack by Lynx on humans though, although they will go for domestic animals such as dogs and sheep (fox is part of their diet).

Eurasian Lynx are much bigger than their North American counterparts and are the third largest predator in Europe (ironically, we get the other two – wolf and bear – wandering around out the back also). They grow up to 130cms in length (only 10cms shorter than a cheetah) and can weigh up to 30 kilos.

The sheer biodiversity of where I live never fails to amaze me.

Parasol Mushroom – start of mushroom season

Parasol Mushroom – start of mushroom season

Last year we had a historic mushroom season. Edible and other fungii grew in unbelievable abundance from the beginning of summer until the start of winter. however, this year is not the same. There are virtually no mushrooms about and it has been forecasted that there won’t be. This is due to two factors – last year it rained all summer and also the fungii basically spored themselves out. it will take years for them to recover in number and strength.

This parasol mushroom (Macrolepiota procera) stood alone where last year there were hundreds.