Last week, the snow came back to Kuterevo. It was not a lot and it stayed only two days, but it was still enough to be a very nice opportunity to go to the forest to look for tracks in the snow. And we were rather lucky! In few hours we found a big amount of tracks from wild pigs, foxes, roe deers, hares… and even paw prints that we think to be from wolves! Only bears were missing.
We decided to follow the wolves’ tracks to see where they were going and we had a wonderful and very interesting time. The tracks led us through the forest, in rocks, on paths, in clearings… We lost the track, we found it again, we saw where the animals jumped, where they stopped to pee, where they went through a place full of tracks from other animals… It was an amazing way to discover the forest’s life.
We also surprised a big and beautiful bird of prey taking its lunch on a tree stump. The bird flew away with its meal when we arrived, but it left enough clues (fur, blood, paw and wings prints in the snow) to make us guess that it was eating a squirrel!
Seeing so many tracks, which appeared only in one night, made us remember how much the forest is alive, full of various species living together. In the silent and white forest, we felt as what we really are: only guests, small part of the nature, one species among others.
In Kuterevo October was still warm: gardening and picking plums were our main activities!
But this beach boy’s ambiance has quickly changed for the Santa-Claus lifestyle! Now all the fields of the forest have fall on the ground and the landscape is often full of ice in the morning.
The typical birds of the hot season, like swallows (Hirundo sp.) and nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos), have left Velebit between August and October looking for countries more rich with food.
A Swallow and a nightingale
Birds from northern Europe like the brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) and the Eurasian siskin (Cardelius spinus) began to take their place at the end of October.
A brambling and two Eurasian siskins
Regarding to the bears, autumn is an important time to become fat. During the winter they enter in hivernation. They sleep a lot and there stomach stop to work, but on the contrary of the animals who spend the winter by hibernation, they keep their temperature enough high to be able to react in case of danger and also to have babies!
In the refuge of Kuterevo, the six adults have experience of hivernation : around the 25th September they stop to “poo” and a cork appear in their ass. After that they can’t eat anymore and they begin to sleep most of the time.
In the forest of Velebit, the bear’s situation is harder. Their main food during autumn is beech nuts, so when the year is bad for the tree’s fructification, some of them don’t succeed to take enough fat for have rest during all the winter. Then they are forced to stay awake and search for food until the spring.
To conclude, in Kuterevo, the people as much as the bears are ready for winter. But one thing is lacking: the snow ! But it will not be long to come… and stay for a longtime!