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.
Wilderness feeling, I repeatedly cross tracks for both wolverine and willow grouse.
In the southern part of our county there is something more like autumn, in the north it is full winter.
I have spent the day putting up signs in our northernmost nature reserves, Päggonätto. A little extra information about the reserve and a reminder of what applies when using motor vehicles. Snowmobiles are welcome, but only along the snowmobile trail.
The highest parts of the reserve are approximately 650 meters above sea level, the view is usually breathtaking, but today it was foggy and poor visibility.
The nature reserve management field season is coming to an end. A little sad this time because it will be the last one for me, it’s time for younger talents to take over the baton. But first I have a winter season of wolf, lynx and wolverine tracking to get through. And the work with the golden eagle as a conclusion. Then it’s time for new adventures.
Suddenly the snow came and said hello for a few days.
Grey, wet and difficult to access. Even with four-wheel drive, it becomes difficult to drive when there is 30 cm of snow, a few plus degrees and drizzle.
I have taken the opportunity to put up some information boards at new nature reserves before winter is here for real with frost on the ground. At the same time, I’m looking for tracks of our four-legged friends, it’s hard not to, even though I have work with the nature reserves that must be prioritized for another week or so.
Probably plus temperatures and rain will make most of the snow disappear again, at least in low-lying areas. It usually happens that way. Up here in the mountains it may stay, more snow and cold are on the way.
Suddenly some light finds its way through the cloud ceiling and the color scale changes from gray to greyish, greenish, and brownish… it’s beautiful.
Autumn begins to turn into winter. Subzero temperatures during more and more nights but so far, the frost is thawing during sunlit days. Flocks of waxwing make their way south, the sound of their chirping, like a thousand silver bells, fills the air where they advance.
The work with the nature reserves moves towards the end of the season, soon the predator season will start again. Last week we finished the work on the boundary of the reserve. About a hundred poles with reserve marks have been carried out and knocked down along the 35 km long border. A time-consuming job, the mire is wet, and the steps become heavy. Good weather still makes the days fantastically beautiful, there is unlimited fresh air, just the right amount of cold and no biting insects!
On Märramyren you can find old dead conifers with wolf lichen, Letharia vulpina, a bright yellow-green, shrubby, and highly branched lichen. A species toxic to mammals due to the yellow pigment. It contains vulpinic acid, which attacks the central nervous system with respiratory paralysis as a result. Wolf lichen has been used historically as a poison for wolves and other predators that visit carrion. It is a protected lichen in our country, and it occurs sparingly from the northern part of our county and northwards.
Maybe not fifty … but many shades of gray have characterized the first tracking week of the season.
Yesterday the clouds were so low that the visibility was almost non-existent when I came up high in the mountains. The diesel engine had to idle, but I still had to stop from time to time and get out to make sure I was not about to leave the road.
There was a few cm of snow every night, so it was easy to see fresh tracks but at the same time it becomes more random to come across them. No wolf or lynx tracks, just a wolverine, but that’s okay too. If several days have passed since the last snowfall, the animals have had time to move over larger areas. This increases the chance that our tracks will cross. Better luck next week!
Say what you want about Christmas shopping on the internet and supposed delivery problems, but I ordered snow for the first of December and delivery seems to be done at just the right time, fantastic!
A good winter starts with cold, snow on unfrozen ground just gets wet and sticky. The last few days we have had down to minus 10 degrees, perfect.
Hoarfrost lights up the landscape and gives a taste of the winter that is hopefully underway. The forecast tells of snowfall tonight and even more snow in the coming days during the week. Time for the tracking season to begin.
The last week has mostly been spent on repairs and service of equipment after this year’s work with the management of nature reserves. Our company cars live a tough life on bad forest roads and need a little extra love from time to time.
Some equipment must be stored in storage rooms, while others must be lifted out and prepared for new operations. On the whole, the same procedure as in previous years and with the same feeling in the body, a tingling sense of anticipation, excitement, curiosity … A new tracking season.
Over the past year I have been working with a battery-powered chainsaw and I loved it!
In our work with hiking trails or nature reserve boundaries, we saw a little, go a short distance to saw a little more before we go a little further … and so on. With a petrol-powered chainsaw, you go all day in noise and exhaust. It’s bad for the environment and it’s bad for you!
With a battery-powered electric chainsaw, you are completely free of exhaust and noise comes only when you press the button and saw. Okay, if you like chainsaws as some kind of masculinity symbol, a muscle power – hair on the chest thing … then maybe you have problems with it sounding like a hand mixer 😉
The first battery-powered electric chainsaws which came on the market was not for professional use. They were too weak and felt a bit like a toy. Once you learned the technique, however, they could be used. With the new Husqvarna 540i XP, it’s a whole other thing. It can definitely compete with a traditional chainsaw. Environmentally and in terms of working environment, it is of course completely superior.
With Husqvarna’s new X-cut saw chain, it is a killer. The first tree I felled fell before I had time to release the throttle …
Presidential elections in the USA and the pandemic that is closing parts of Europe again, these are dizzying times … but in our nature reserves everything is calm and quiet.
We are privileged who are not affected by lockdown rules, who live in a sparsely populated area and have our workplace in the wilderness. Our only tiny “problem” right now is that the recent heavy rains have turned even small streams into foaming rivers. Upstream, however, there is always a place where you can cross the watercourse. I’m starting to become a champion at “kangaroo jump with chainsaw and backpack” …
Work on the reserve boundary is still in progress. We are lucky with the weather and the heat continues. Normally it should be snow-covered ground now, but some days are instead warmer than it has been since temperature measurements began in our county 1858. I’m not complaining, not yet … but when December arrives, I want snow. Winter should be snow and cold, do not want a repeat of the tracking season last year.
Large flocks of thrushes pass during the day, there are still a lot of birds left that have not yet moved to warmer latitudes and the summer has been good for grouse. There are plenty of capercaillie, black grouse and hazel grouse and we had a nice sighting of a golden eagle hunting in the area this week.
I look for northern hawk owls daily but have not yet seen any, they should start appearing soon. There is probably a shortage of small rodents in the north of the country, but all the more here with us. Some summer cottage owners have caught hundreds of mice.
It has been a great time in the Gobackberget-Berttjärnhallen nature reserve, and we hope to finish the reserve boundary this week. With its varied nature and wilderness character, it is a nature reserve that I will gladly return to in the future, both at work and leisure.
During the current pandemic, it has suddenly become clear what a great resource protected nature area are for human recreation and well-being. We have more visits to our nature reserves than ever before.
I visited the Branäsberget nature reserve this week, a small, protected area around one of Sweden’s finest premises for long bearded lichen. When, in the eighties, I tracked lynx in what was then a fantastic wilderness, I could not in my wildest imagination imagine the tourist facility that exists in the area today. Hotels and holiday villages with room for over 10,000 guests, 22 ski lifts, lots of slopes and an ambition to double the facility within a few years.
I prefer wilderness but there we are different; others want adapted facilities and a wide range of activities. That’s okay, there should be something for all of us, but it’s important to protect certain parts of our planet from exploitation. Biodiversity is not something you recreate on a coffee break.
Mangslidberg is an area I would like to see as a nature reserve. Fantastic bogs but unfortunately only remnants of the genuine forest that previously surrounded the area. Large-scale forestry has ravaged mercilessly.
I visited it this summer to look for a hill where I once found the first rendezvous place for wolves in the early eighties, when wolves returned to the area after disappearing for almost a century. I found no traces of wolves but all the clearer of humans. Someone had played with an ATV on one of the bogs and left tracks that will be visible for several decades to come. Unnecessary and irresponsible.
Work on the Gobackberget-Berttjärnhallen nature reserve will continue for a few more weeks, unless the snow falls again, of course. Then there will be a transition to predator inventory and tracking. Right now, there are plus degrees and it looks hopeful next week as well. Took a picture of Berttjärn (Bert Tarn) while I heard the first pine grosbeak pass yesterday.
A large part of the autumn will be devoted to work on the border of a fairly new nature reserve with the overall name; Gobackberget – Berttjärnhallen. 1170 hectares of pure wilderness.
It takes a lot of time to clear the 22.6 km border with a chainsaw, paint the nature reserve’s symbols on trees and carry out the poles needed to complete where suitable trees to paint on are missing.
The reserve is sometimes difficult to access. Bad gravel roads, sometimes very bad. Long distances to walk with heavy equipment over wet bogs or in steep and rocky terrain. Heavy working days but rewarding, often in the company of some talkative Siberian jay.
And the color palette is seductively beautiful …
It’s bear country. There are several examples of encounters with really big bears. We have not seen anyone here yet but are constantly finding signs of its presence. Exciting. A spice for the working day.
My internet service provider decided to turn off the copper wire network at the end of the month before they had completed the fiber connection … so now we are many loyal customers who are slightly irritated. (The fiber connection should be ready this autumn, but we have heard that for several years now!) After some calls to the support and some less successful solutions, I have now switched to another company. And a few seconds later – woops, a well-functioning internet via 4G.
Summer is here, great! First kayaking trip completed. If paragliding is freedom in the sky, then kayaking is freedom at sea. Both are refined nature experiences, subtle silence, and freedom to be where rarely others are. You move quietly and show up unexpectedly, which is why it is important to respect the home peace zone for both humans, animals, and breeding birds.
When we are free from our work with nature reserves, we like to visit other nature reserves … Okay, a little geeky maybe, but it is relaxing and interesting to visit other types of nature than the ones we find on a daily basis. Last time we visited Gullrosas Berg (Mountain). Gullrosa is a traditional name for a cow, and according to legend, a cow of that name should have crashed and died in the ravines that run across the mountain plateau and the reserve. Nowadays there are no grazing cows in the area, it is exclusively a nature reserve and outdoor area.
Cloudberry flowers and common cottongrass shone white on the marshes. Atmospheric, hope for good berry season this year.
The varied forest and beautiful views made the visit pleasant. A nice reserve that we would love to visit again. We walked the “tough” trail with a little steeper section, the family trail may be next time.
In conclusion, I would like to tell you that we were ringing this year’s new golden eagle kids this week. In one of the nests, which I could not see into but had only heard one kid, there turned out to be two. Both in good health. Lovely! Three kids ringed total.
I suppose I´m some kind of caretaker for nature reserves (warden, ranger..?) who also works with environmental monitoring and endangered species. Tracker since the mid-eighties, mostly wolves and other predators, and once in a while assistant in various research projects with inventories and telemetry.