Saturday 10 December 2016

Newsletter November 2016

November / December 2016 Newsletter.

November continued with such glorious clear blue skies and excellent visibility with wolf and wildlife sightings offered in these conditions, beginning with wolf on 1st November  and ending satisfyingly cyclical, with more impressive wolf videos taken by John on 31st November. I know many of you have enjoyed these sightings posted by John on the Wild Wolf Experience Facebook page more or less as they happen. Above is a photo of an alpha male carrying the head of a deer in its mouth, taken by John during November here in the Sierra de la Culebra.

 I also attach below a video taken this month by John of a female Iberian wolf carrying food from a kill.

We did experience a wet spell of cold and misty weather for a few days in late November which just happened to coincide with Martyn and Rab's Watching for Wolves tour. They exchanged a wet Heathrow for a scenic snowy Asturias which degenerated into heavy rain for their journey down from Asturias to the Sierra de la Culebra on 24th November.

Their first morning wolf watch was cold but thankfully a little drier and everyone was able to watch some impressive stags plus several red kites, roe deer, crossbill and a peregrine drying out on a rock. 

In the same area John, Martyn and Rab were able to locate several very fresh wolf tracks.

The presence of many griffon vultures and 30/40 red kites observed during the evening of 25th provoked interest but while watching intently only red deer were seen, plus a fleeting wild boar running past the deer in the encroaching dusk. Such wet conditions do not deter the otter and Martyn and John had a brief distant view of an otter but were unable to pick up the animal again during a day full of good sights.

Otter tracks.
Rab was able to join John and Martyn in a longer view of a kingfisher whilst also seen that day were crag martin, great white egret, pochard, wigeon, gadwall, mallard and little grebe, while the morning's earlier watch had offered up seven red deer, crested tit, short-toed treecreeper, blue tit, great tit, coal tit and Iberian chiff-chaff.

On the evening of a wet 26th November, Martyn in particular was feeling a little despondent, with only one full day left of the tour and having just dropped and broken his binoculars, plus his home football team of Tottenham Hotspur had lost to Chelsea, so a tonic was required...but who could have imagined such a fabulous final day?

The morning of 27th dawned clearer and brighter and John, Martyn and Rab were not long into their wolf watch when John spotted a male wolf moving along the front of the forest then Rab got onto it. Martyn could not place it but ten minutes later John then spotted a female going along the same track and this time thankfully Martyn and Rab both had good views for several minutes. After a most enjoyable trip over the magnificent Douro Gorge into Portugal where golden eagle was spotted flying over the ridge along with good close sightings of numerous griffon vultures, the evening wolf watch offered John, Martyn and Rab tremendous views of the female  wolf this time running very fast through the short heather possibly chasing a hare or rabbit only to  settle in the heather to recover, giving excellent stationary views for everyone.

John was lucky enough to be in place just after the alpha male had made a successful kill, probably  a wild boar, and in this video we can watch the growing young cub of from this year vying for some of this food, and the interplay between the alpha male and the youngster.

We are nearing the end of our busiest year yet here at Wild Wolf Experience and John and I can reflect on so many satisfying moments sharing the richness of this area with so many of you throughout 2016.  We wish you all a very happy Christmas and a happy, healthy 2017.

Margaret. Dec 2016.