Thursday, February 14, 2013

Snow in the forest of Irati (Navarre)


With more than 1.50 meters of snow, snowdrifts without, in the mountains of the forest of Irati, landscape and life of the people of the valley changes significantly.It's still snowing, and so many days in a row to start giving problems mainly to deers and roe deers, and in diferent extent,to the rest of the animals in these forests. In Abaurregaina (Aezkoa), the highest village in Navarra and co-owner of Mount Aezkoa, part of the forest of Irati ,  the snow on the roof of a house reaches 1.20 m. Snow.Animals develop different strategies to cope with the winter, which is often a problem for cold & the absence of food.When they have nothing to eat because everything is under the snow, they have some strategies;or digging in search of plants, roots, stems, etc. .., or eat other things that normally would not eat as bark or lichens, or eat what escapes out the snow , as the fruits of certain species that survive the winter, as the fruits of holly (Ilex aquifolium) or the wild rose (Rosa canina) named in Navarre "tapaculos" (Cover asses) among other names, apparently due to its astringent properties.

There are also those who have kept their supplies, as the red squirrel, the vole or Jay, or who decide to move and go to other areas where access to food is easier. If they are birds, we are able to see at a lower altitude species generally would see further north, such as alpine accentores seen recently in Orbara (Aezkoa). But if roe deer and wild boar, among others, damage the winter garden, composed of leeks, cabbages and thistles, and damage to the fruit trees, that they bark must be as sweet to them, are substantial, and between owners see the need to control through hunting.Probably the quota of roe deer  and roes that every year the environmental department  of Navarre assigned to hunters this year will decrease.Many will die because of these heavy snowfalls.


      In the west prairies zones of Irati , have large areas of natural grassland, also in the range of Abodi, belonging to Aezkoa and Salazar valleys. You do not see fences or hedges, and it all evens like we were in the Arctic. Make a journey on snowshoes or cross-country skis becomes an exciting adventure, and even knowing the terrain, the snow gives a completely new.Beware miss!

You will see different tracks in the snow, tracks left by wild animals on their movements looking for food. Sometimes you can identify some of them as long as not too melted and disfigured, or the snow cover and disappears. This in particular is red fox (Vulpes vulpes), which stands in the snow tremendously.It is very similar to the dog, but the pad marks the front toes are not touching the rear of an imaginary line drawn on top of the rear pads.

Footprint Boar (Sus scrofa)

This corresponds to a boar (Sus scrofa). Hoof is unmistakable with its two small holes on the back side for their hooves, which the deer or deer do not usually leave.


Traces of red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)

The common squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) also leaves footprints in the snow more or less easy to recognize, especially when supports front and rear legs, but this is not the case. They are long, slender fingers, and nails. You always find very near the trees, and possibly start and end at one.I could not ask him what the hell was in the snow ..
Footprint of badger (Meles meles)
Badgers (Meles meles)makes typically footprints similar to those of the bears, but small, especially the earlier mark. With its 5 fingers and 5 nails is one of the easiest to recognize. In this picture you can see that was quiet, otherwise the position of the tracks vary, the footprint would gather more between them by twos and one in front and one in back.


Like everything else, the snow also has a positive side, and especially for children  is clear. This year it has snowed a lot we have had the opportunity to raise an igluman to the front door.With this name you can  imagin what is it. The snow, compacted in this way, hold more than around him, and when already melted around the igluman hold on a little longer, until it falls and it's time to regain the "txapela" or beret. Carrots also can thus remains chilly. The building you see in the background is a granary or Garea (Gare in Basque means wheat) where the grain was stored away from rodents. These granarys of the valle ofAezkoa are the easternmost of the Iberian peninsula, and also an excuse to visit our villages. All of them have one or more.If someday're here, let me know and I'll show you inside. Which unless this detail to my readers!

Sources: Tracks and signs of animals in Europe Preben Bang & Preben Dahlstrom (Ediciones Omega)