We had the first snow of the year today. The site looked great this morning, but it doesn’t look like its going to last – by the time I got out to take photos it had already started to melt under the trees, and the site was a patchwork of green and white.
One of the best things about snow on the site is that it gives us a bit of an insight into some of the animals that we share the site with. Its a chance to go tracking, to see who else has left a few footprints behind. We can find out a bit more about the wildlife on the site, even if we haven’t got up early enough to see them! The snow leaves really clear prints so its a really good chance to test identifcation skills! The Field Studies Council does a good fold out key on mammal tracks, but there’s lots of animals to look out for as well.
As the snow was melting fast today it was hard to find many prints, but the ones that were there stood out well. Lots of bird prints on benches and around the ponds. At times when the snow has stayed for a few days you get to see the main routes that animals take around the site and the whole range of places that they wander to! Places like crossing the frozen ponds seem to be especially good for spotting prints that haven’t been trampled.
Although sometimes it sees that the pond surface can be a bit slippery for even the most surefooted of animals….
A lot of the wildlife at Skelton Grange is nocturnal, and most of the visitors that come here are here during the daytime, so tracking can be a great way of meeting some of the animals without actually coming face to face.