A week in the forest – silent trails

Overview and photos by Peep Männil and Marko Kübarsepp
Marking-posts with signs of scraping are very typical of wolves.
On Sunday, snowfall came with some plus degrees. Nature became wintry picturesque again. The thickness of snow cover grew above quarter of a metre, which by now has decreased significantly because of mild weather. 
February means that the wolves are in heat. Probably that is the reason why folk tradition calls it the wolf`s month. Wolves, who already started courting some time ago are now actively marking their territories to inform other wolves about the boundaries of an area, which they have chosen for raising their new litter. For the young wolf-pairs, this is wedding-time, which establishes a permanent relationship - "till death do us part". 
More than half of the old wolves have lost their former mates during the hunting season. Some of them have found a new young mate to wed once again, some of them remain widow(er)s until the following year. The culmination of the mating season in the wolf`s month is of course the fertilization of the alpha-female, which creates a basis for the birth of a new litter.
Past week added a fair amount of snow. Snowfall started in the middle of the night and lasted until the middle of the day. The  same pattern appeared also on the following days. The reason why I speak of this – when snow falls, it „silences“ the trails, which have been recorded in the snow. It is like entering a world of a different language. In a word, a poor week for trails.
The animals, however, including the wolves Hall (Grey) and Habe (Beard) are roaming around in forests and logging sites, river meadows and forest division lines. And they also have a specific target – to find something to eat. The week with heavy snow has not been merciful for them in that regard. Only one roe deer and a wild boar, who passed away for unknown causes. Anyhow, Habe has once again joined the duo of Hall and his nameless companion. And so, the duo has become a trio again...
Leaving scraping marks is very typical of wolves




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