Monday 6 October 2014

Bear's footprints!

Brown Bear's (Ursus arctos) footprints
Today I returned to the forest where I found the Ural Owl last week, to do some exploring. I had in mind a dream encounter - to find a Brown Bear. There are now several bears scattered around the the Karst (especially the Slovenian one) as a consequence of the massive disturb caused by loggers clearing Slovenia's forests after the severe ice damage from last winter. So a lot of bears have dispersed in other forest habitats that they usually don't inhabit. Moreover they seem to be especially active now as they gather food for the winter storage. And everyone going around on casual walks seems to find them with a certain ease (including several of my friends).
Today I was not very optimistic because I knew I was out of the core habitat area of bears. So of course I was very delighted when I found the above footprints. And not just one footprint but an awful lot of them! These probably involve more than one bear. I've seen bear's footprints on several occasions, but always singles or doubles. On the forest road I also found what I think is most probably a bear's dropping.
The muddy areas around puddles on the paths had also other footprints of Canis sp. and Felis sp. I couldn't ID for sure - they are still under examination. One of the puddles also held a nice Yellow-bellied Toad Bombina variegata.
There was a bit of wind today so birds were not very cooperative. I managed to hear a Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius, a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos minor, some Crossbills Loxia curvirostra and Siskins Carduelis spinus, but the highlight on the bird-front was a Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor earlier in the day.