The Boar Gathering

It was a beautiful clear day yesterday. Fine for a little bit of mooching around; sitting under trees where the snow had not been able to reach, enjoying the first of the really penetrating sun this year; settling into what the land could show me now that the snow is becoming rather old and destroyed.

valley 01

We are lucky that our end of the valley, being a cul-de-sac, situated at 860m and being very narrow, retains the snow far longer than anywhere else, so we have many more weeks of tracking to enjoy, usually into the beginning of April if the weather stays cold, although in the last couple of years it has been unseasonably warm, meaning that the snow had disappeared my mid March. The brightest of blues the sky was yesterday. The clearest of sightlines. Nothing much stirring in the trees however. Birds seem to be very silent at this time of year, waiting for the world to wake up again, I think. Everything feels rather bare.

cliffs behind trees

I walked down to the boar field to see if there had been any more activity from the night before. This little run across an open field has evidence of boars coming down through it most nights. They run from tree to tree, enjoying the bare earth underneath the canopy, snorting and snuffling about in the undergrowth, rooting up the ground and dislodging fallen branches. Their tracks are really easy to follow when the ground is snowy, as their trotters carry mud for hundreds of metres against the white background.

boar digging hole

boar destruction

boar path

Lovely clear prints. There must have been a family of about ten boar, ranging from babies through to larger adults, all coming down the mountain en masse and rooting together under the trees … snuffling root carnage and digging up the field, mid way across.

fox crossing

This photo shows a fox track looped around however; stopped and started, indicating the playful traverse of a young, inquisitive fox across the field, already solitary but not fully grown into adulthood yet, I would expect.

young fox

Not surprisingly, foxes had followed them. Many, many criss-crossing tracks had been made across the open fields at walking pace; feet catching in the snow in some steps, showing signs of hesitation. Fox tracks are so distinctive and very different from dogs’ tracks, often found moving across paths and main thoroughfares, as they pay no heed to obstacles impeding their way, such as fences and rivers. The tracks show their determination to follow their regular routes each night as they make the rounds of their territories.

The snow is becoming damaged. It is starting to be melted in the sun during the day yet still freezing hard at night, making the fresh tracks that are laid down very light and easily destroyed. Unfortunately, I think that the snow-tracking season may finally be coming to an end unless we have new snowfall in the next few weeks.