Sunday, 3 February 2013

Interesting "Things" on the Sentes de Fondoire

This afternoon, as it was DRY and the sun was trying hard to shine, we did one of our favourite walks around the 5kms of The Sentes de Fondoire.

It is a walk which we have done many times before and every time there is something different to see. Today was no exception... Elizabeth photographed these interesting things!!

We think this is most likely the foot of a young badger. From what we can find out a buzzard will take a young badger as prey. There was no sign of any other remains or blood in the vicinity.

This is one of several footprints which appeared to follow the path for a short way and then disappear off into the woods. Is it badger again or simply someone's dog?

Is this deposit a badger again?

Any clarification from our experts out there would be appreciated.

Finally a picture of the lake....

.....simply because we thought we'd better end on a more pleasant note!


Susan said...

Having consulted my poo and pawprint guide, I think the print might be a polecat. The poo could be badger.

Jean said...

I had to chuckle at the concept of a poo and footprint guide, Susan !!

Susan said...

£3.50 from the Field Studies Centre if you want one Jean :-)

Tim said...

Susan, the paw print and poo are, in my opinion, both Foxy Loxy... the four front claw prints are too much in a straight line for polecat... both the FSC sheet and Bang & Dahlstrom show a more circular pattern for polecat [in fact for all the Mustelids]. Also I feel that the claw prints are more dog-like too... reinforcing a fox.
But... whatever it is, it is almost impossible to make a really sure identification without a scale... I now carry a 10cm steel rule [1€ at the Chatellerault car bourse] at all times... for just that purpose. I used to use a 6" one... but that is now in the tool box!!
OK... call me an anorak!!

Jean, chuckle you may... but a good guide to animal tracks and signs is actually an essential! I've got two others than those mentioned above... one of them French illustrated by Dominique Mansion... the guy who wrote the Trognes book.

Tim said...

Great post and good observation... definately a badger... look at those digging claws!! Some books that you can carry, have a ruler printed on them... very useful! But a coin will do to give scale...
And all the FSC fold out "leaflets"... [actually around 12 pages of wipe clean information... often with a 24cm ruler!] are superb...

Susan said...

Tim: this is much more your field of expertise than mine, so I am sure your opinion is worth much more than mine. I nearly opted for fox with the poo -- damn. The other reference I have for poo and paws is van den Brink's old Collins mammal book (the predecessor to Bang and Dahlstrom?).

I've got one of those steel rulers -- but it lives in a kitchen drawer and is used for measuring cake tins and the like! It's a good general fieldcraft idea to carry one -- they weigh nothing, cost very little. I guess I've never done so because nothing I'm specifically interested in is going to sit around long enough to be measured :-)

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Susan, Jean and Tim,
First of all thank you so much for taking the time to comment on the post. We really appreciate your input and welcome any insight you have.

My first reaction was the same as you, Jean! But seriously we do recognise only too well the value of field guides!

Susan, We would never have considered polecat, but then reading Tim's comment we have to agree that it is more likely to be the print of a fox.

Colin and I both cursed ourselves for not thinking to add an indication of scale when I took the photos... will try to remember this invaluable indicator next time!

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Tim, we actually have some of the FSC guides and yes, they do have a ruler on the edge. That's not much use if they are left in the bookcase though! If I had a brain I'd be dangerous!!

Tim said...

Yes, a major problem with them is their size... they just aren't something that is easily carried around!
Dominque Mansions book, on the other hand is A6 in size.
Readily pocketable... if you are out on an expedition... but, if out on a randonay... you are most likely NOT to have it with you... hence my carrying a very small ruler... I can then use my camera as the sketchbook.