Week in the wood: Raccoon dogs and thaw.

Submitted by Looduskalender EN on Sat, 26.11.2016 - 13:26

Video 20.11.2016

At the beginning of last week there was still a quite decent winter. The  Soosaare sett was covered by a solid carpet of snow and the badgers stayed napping in the burrow. Neither did the raccoons want to go far from the burrow openings in the cold.

Posted by the Animal of the Year team, 20.11.2016


On Wednesday however the weather changed, became warmer and towards the end of the week even turned into real thaw. The badgers did not let themselves be disturbed by the warm period. The raccoon dogs however went out. The trail cameras recorded them on several longer walks. But the thaw and high air humidity interfered with further recordings. Even in daytime the water did not evaporate  from the camera surfaces and the lenses stayed covered in mist. The cameras worked but only recorded uniformly grey views. Who moved in these milky white videos will remain a secret. Probably the raccoon dogs. Their tracks were everywhere on the sett.

At the Salumetsa burrows the story was the same. A clear night-scene image from the beginning of the week shows a raccoon dog who has got out from the burrow. The following images are already distorted from the wet snow and misty. All subsequent views are enigmatically foggy. The raccoon dog pair use two  of four burrows for winter living. The badgers have moved somewhere else for this winter. So nobody has changed the beddings. But the old bedding materials are soft and pleasant too. The tenants have no reason to complain.

Near the Soosaare sett, in the top of a low bog pine tree, a squirrel has feasted on a cone. Quite at the top it seems, otherwise the remains of the cone would not have been spread around on the snow. The cone king eats cones just like that, and finally only the centre stalk is left in its paws. A woodpecker would leave the cone whole, tapping and prying out only the seeds.


While large trees were mostly  bare of leaves when the snow came then in the undergrowth there were still shrubs that had delayed with this, a small mountain currant among them. Finally it succumbed too.


Young alder buckthorns are particularly persistent. Even after several quite heavy snowfalls, rain and thaw some leaves still remain.


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