Friday, 13 March 2009

COMPETITION: Walking in a winter wonderland

Back in early February, as I am sure you remember, the British Isles had a flurry of snow. Here in Somerset, we had our fair share, and I - being the good field-man I am - went up to the usual place to see if Mr. Kitty had left any traces of his existence. The farmer had moved his sheep away into shelter over the cold snap, so I knew that there would be no new kills to poke.

I battled my way up to the field, parked up, got out and had a look around. I was extremely surprised to see the amount of snow prints I did (nothing feline though), and got round to the fun business of identifying them all, as all good naturalists should. Now, I know what most of these are, but the real question is, do you, the CFZ blog readers, have any idea what these prints are from? The person who sends in the most accurate answers as to what the following 8 photos show wins a year’s subscription to either The Amateur Naturalist or Animals & Men magazine, it’s your choice! Answers can be sent to The number at the end of the text next to the photo shows the question number.

First up, we have this image. Any ideas? They are right down to the ground (3”), so we must be dealing with something with fairly small feet for its body size.
The two prints are about 6” apart, and each print is 1.5” wide. Claws are clearly visible, which are short but thick.
The central pad is also diagnostic. [1]

Ok, now try this. We have two prints, which plunge very deep into the snow with a pretty large amount of kicked back snow. The prints are about 1-1.5” in diameter, and are about 1’ apart. What do you think they are? [2]

Moving briefly to a photo I took near my house, what have we here?
We have thinner snow, maybe an inch, with two sets of prints.
One very large long one and two smaller distinct prints. The prints are about 2” wide.
Any ideas? [3]

And this one? An odd one this. The snow is very thin here. [4]

And this? Four points originating from a central source. [5]

Right, let’s get tough. The next few photos are fairly indistinct, and I won’t be adding my suggestions and hints for any of these. Good luck!

Oh, and just for fun, this is the amount of prints that you get around a decaying carcass as scavengers, errr, scavenge for meat left on the bones.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to point out that the size of the photos was smaller than intended! You can save them to your computer as images if you would like to see them clearer.