Uncle Henry´s Universe.

Uncle Henry´s Universe.

About the blog

I have no heavy training... Barely Elementary School. Preferred the wilderness, it became my university, but I got muddy boots and experience instead of School knowledge so my English was therefore quite inadequate. This blog is a project to improve my skills in English language.

We all have our own universe, welcome to visit mine.

La Grotte de Villars

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 used.

There 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.

Claw marks after cave bears that once scratched out a sleeping place from the soft clay.

Cro-Magnon 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.

There are 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.





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Dune de Pylat

PG / PPGPosted by Uncle Henry Sat, May 28, 2016 18:41:28

In late 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.

60 million 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.

Dune de 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.

Foret des 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!)

Laminar 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.

Here you can also get very nice flight time.

It was a useful week for me and my new paraglider.



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Mixed week.

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.

One morning 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.)

There is not much left of a roe deer when two hungry wolves taking a midnight snack.

Some days 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.





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Poor meee!

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 satisfied.

As we say every year, it's a crappy job, but someone has to do it!





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Continued tracking!

WolfPosted by Uncle Henry Wed, February 24, 2016 21:46:29

It was a gorgeous day in the wolves' tracks, with continued course straight into Norway. I became more and more convinced that it was the Gräsmark couple I followed, but the response in the form of droppings and urine was not found until late in the day. (And the test results come first in a week or two.)
They crossed each lake or river they encountered, and I had to go around according to the safety rules that we have, and which I support with all my heart. The ice is very sneaky this winter, so I do not take risks.

Even today I found a moose killed by wolves and it was also completely eaten. It was an old moose with much worn teeth. The front teeth in the lower jaw were worse than I've ever seen before.





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Tracking abroad!

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.

There is 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.





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Hungry hawk!

Everyday lifePosted by Uncle Henry Tue, February 09, 2016 21:12:03

Restaurant 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.


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A day's work.

WolfPosted by Uncle Henry Sat, February 06, 2016 10:51:35

Early 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.

Then we 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".

The light 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 circumstances.

I found both pee and poo during the tracking. It was a good day.



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Surrounded!

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!

Hmm, stop dreaming, down with the nose and continue to track, it's a long way to go before it´s evening.



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Track Story.

WolfPosted by Uncle Henry Wed, January 27, 2016 16:54:21

The track 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.

The track 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.

The track 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.

The track tells; that even a wolf weighs lighter than that chubby tracker!







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