TravelPosted by Uncle Henry Wed, June 01, 2016 14:05:36
When the guide
locks the massive steel door behind me, I feel the claustrophobia creeping like
an iron band around the chest. It ceases, however, immediately when she
knowledgeable and committed invites us in an amazingly beautiful world with
stalagmites and stalactites from floor to ceiling. 13 km caverns and halls in
different levels and only one who has the key to the doors – I know who I will
hold in, if the light suddenly goes out!
We got during
our drive through southwest France the opportunity to visit the Grotte de
Villars, something that can really be recommended. It is an amazing and
unforgettable experience. There is forbidden to photograph, therefore I borrow
here some of the resort's image and hope for forgiveness, given how they are
more known caves, such as Lascaux, where the paintings are of a totally awesome
and unique quality. But if you are content with simpler paintings, so is the
Grotte de Villars a good option. Plus, you get to see the originals, at
Lascaux, you make do with copies. Because of e.g. fungal infestation are
caverns with paintings closed; only a few researchers are permitted to visit
them. The visitors are now referred to the caves with cave painting replicas.
after cave bears that once scratched out a sleeping place from the soft clay.
man painted with manganese oxide mixed with animal fat. Paintings, that still
remains 19,000 years later. With time, however, they will disappear because the
calcium deposits slowly covering them. In the Grotte de Villars is the famous
"man - bison" picture, one of the very rare pictures where man
depicted in pre historic art. (One of two sites in France) I have no good
picture of it so it got to be a small horse instead.
no photos available in the souvenir shop, which nearly describes the experience
that rests in my mind after our walk in the cave system. It must be
experienced. Both my wife and I agree the visit to the cave to one of our
absolute greatest experiences so far in life.
PG / PPGPosted by Uncle Henry Sat, May 28, 2016 18:41:28
April, early May, my wife and I traveled by car through France to enjoy the
early spring and play a week in the sand, with the kite and paraglider.
m³ of sand! Very fine-grained, soft as flour, wondering if I'll ever get rid of
it. It will probably follow my equipment for a long time to come.
Pilat is the largest sand dune in Europe, located along the Atlantic coast, at
La Teste-de-Buch, 60 km southwest of Bordeaux. It´s almost 3 km long, 500
meters wide and 110 meters high at the highest point.
Landes, east of the sand dune is the largest maritime-pine forest in Europe.
10,000 square kilometers planted by man for forestry and for stopping the sand.
(Which still moves about 5 meters inland per year!)
winds and the large soft sandy surface, free from all forms of obstacles, make
the area a paradise for paragliders. Here you can train different start
techniques, perform balance exercises and other ground handling.
can also get very nice flight time.
It was a
useful week for me and my new paraglider.
Nature ConservationPosted by Uncle Henry Sun, March 13, 2016 19:38:38
It has been
a varied week both in weather and tasks. Mostly overcast conditions, when it
has been tracked wolves and wolverines, but also fine sunshine with good
sightings of golden eagles. Only a few degrees below zero at night and a few
degrees above zero in the daytime. Spring is on its way.
we heard the raven crying outside our cabin, nothing unusual, but it was much
closer than it usually is. It turned out that two wolves during the night, had
killed and eaten, one of the roe deer that terrorize our garden. (I take care
of some small sallow trees grown especially given the bumblebees in the spring.
And who was munching on them last week, if not precisely these roe deer! But as
you all know, crime does not pay and this time got the bad guy to pay with
life!) If we had woken up and looked out the window, down the river, we had
been able to see what happened. But oooh no. We slept sooo well! (It would have
been interesting to see, but it was certainly too dark anyway.)
not much left of a roe deer when two hungry wolves taking a midnight snack.
later, a moose cow with her two calves passed the place, (yes ... we have a new
moose cow with calves discovered the charm of our garden!) she showed great
interest in the wolf tracks and tracked them for a short distance. I have seen
this behavior several times before during tracking, but this was the first time
I saw it happen. Maybe she tried to judge when the wolves passed and which
direction they took. She seemed very suspicious.
Nature ConservationPosted by Uncle Henry Fri, March 04, 2016 19:11:33
Now it is a
difficult time for me and my dear colleagues. Not yet finished with wolf
tracking when the golden eagle demands attention. Frustrating days comes before
us. When you track wolves, are you thinking about all the eagles who wishes to
be registered and when you are waiting for eagles that never turns out, are you
thinking about all the wolves that wish to be tracked. You are never quite
As we say
every year, it's a crappy job, but someone has to do it!
WolfPosted by Uncle Henry Mon, February 22, 2016 22:27:05
Wolf pack territory changed between years and overlap at times. When last year I thought I tracked the Kerto pack, DNA analysis showed that it was the Gräsmark pack. In January this year, I once again tracked in exactly the same place, and I thought it was Gräsmark ... But it was Kerto! Today I tracked again, in the same place as before, and that should reasonably be Kerto because they ate of the moose they killed in January ... but the tracking went to our neighboring country, Norway… And that is Gräsmark territory. Perhaps I will get answer during tomorrow's tracking.
When the wolves cross the watercourses I have to take me around in some other way. It often makes the walk twice as long. Tracked down to the river and went back the same way, then took the car via Norway into Sweden again, and continued to track when the tracks were found. Wolves do not care for cold water. Wolf trackers do.
not much left of the moose calf that wolves killed in late January. Hungry
wolves, red foxes, raven and one or two golden eagle has had a feast. Voles,
mice and small birds continue partying, and thereafter hand over to insects and
even smaller organisms, the natural cycle.
Everyday lifePosted by Uncle Henry Tue, February 09, 2016 21:12:03
happy bird is a success, several kilos of shelled sunflower seeds has
maintained a swarm of now quite rich and prosperous great tits. It also
attracts other dinner guests, such as Mr. Sparrow hawk.
We make no difference to the guests; those who are hungry can provide
themselves. Okay, the neighbor's cats excepted, they are often quite chilly
treated, but sparrow hawk and pygmy owl are welcome at the bird table, which
also has delicate voles to offer on the menu.
WolfPosted by Uncle Henry Sat, February 06, 2016 10:51:35
morning in the tracks of two wolves that made a short visit to the village,
frightened a horse to panic, and created hot topic to discuss while visiting
the villages only general store. I follow the tracks down to the lake, where
the wolves have been hunting roe deer in the grove surrounding the changing
cabin, at the local beach.
returned to the mountains. Raven calls out, there is a moose killed by wolves
somewhere in the dense forest around me, but I find it not. The tracks carry on
and I follow, always looking for pee and poo. (DNA - samples that hopefully
makes tracking valuable for our work)
Lunch on a
stump with a view of the landscape, sunshine and a few degrees, it starts to
feel like spring already. A black tit singing eagerly from the top of a fir tree,
as a non-lubricated sewing machine ", sittju-sittju-sittju-sittju".
begins to return, working days become longer. At dusk, another wolf pair
walking along a river, sometimes eerily close to the fragile ice edge. You need to be vigilant, but it is also part
of the job, to assess the risks related to different types of terrain and
both pee and poo during the tracking. It was a good day.
Everyday lifePosted by Uncle Henry Fri, February 05, 2016 11:17:22
If you are
young and vulnerable, and surrounded by long scary strangers, then jump up on a
rock and defend yourselves, stand close together, back to back. Mom and Dad are
on its way, they are going to save you!
dreaming, down with the nose and continue to track, it's a long way to go
before it´s evening.
WolfPosted by Uncle Henry Wed, January 27, 2016 16:54:21
tells; that alpha male and alpha female frequently urine marks together in the
same place and both with lifting legs, and in this case that tracker preparing
samples for the DNA analysis.
tells; that other, low ranking members of the family urinating in a squatting
position. Anatomy Knowledge need not be particularly impressive to see if it´s
a male or female that eased the pressure.
tells; that an old root cellar can give a little warmth and security for some
scabies infested young wolves during the coldest period so far this winter.
tells; that even a wolf weighs lighter than that chubby tracker!