Sonntag, 2. März 2014


It’s the 18th of February right now and since Christmas last year I wanted to go to the mountain forest again. But many things crossed this plan: bad weather, illness, business travel etc. and so on. But today was wonderful sunny and warm – a perfect day for a stroll through the woods. So I took my bicycle and tortured myself all the way to the forest. Even in the forest the way always went uphill, but the toil was all worth it. Why? Read it under the cut!

As I arrived I directly took the way into the forest. Normally I check out the hedge first, because there I’ve been finding bones in the past as well. But I was twitchy. Even as I stood between the first trees I couldn’t relax. So I didn’t care much about what’s next on the trail as usual, because I wanted to reach the upper part of the forest as fast as possible. Slow like a snail I scuttled uphill, always alternating between man-made trails and animal paths.
But why I was so eager to reach the upper part of the mountain forest? Well, actually I wasn’t bone hunting, I was looking for animal footprints. I knew a muddy place where I often found badger footprints and I found that spot again. There were several footprints (even from other animals), but all of them weren’t good enough to take a cast from. What a pity. So I decided to go more uphill for to check out the steep rock slopes.

It was very very steeply and I found the first skull by the root next to the fallen tree.
It was really steep and I had to watch my steps carefully. Once I lost my balance, wanting to grab the tree trunk next to me but I hurt my thumb in the process. Do you know the feeling when a fingernail bends back? Ouch…
There was also an alluring canyon, but it was too dangerous to check out alone, so I went further. I found a few bone bits like ribs (I took one of a deer with me), vertebrae, leg bones etc. Suddenly I spotted a turned back of a skull. I only saw the intact braincase and I thought a bit bored: “Ah, a red fox skull… Let’s see if it has all teeth left so it’s worth taking with me.”
But it wasn’t a fox skull, it was the skull of a badger! WOW! To find a badger skull is a very rare and a big highlight to me! I’m still very excited about that find. The lower jaw is missing, some animal bit off a part of the bone ridge (Arghl!) and one canine is lost too, but beside that the skull is in wonderful condition.

Do you see where the blood vessels were?
Look at that big bone ridge, It must be a very strong and capital badger. The skull is even bigger than my other badger skull. And I never noticed that tiny winy tooth behind the big canine.
There were also some toothless fox jaw parts - totally dull, but I took them nonetheless.

I found the one with the many teeth later.
I was still stoked from my find as I saw another skull lower at the slope. It was incredible! A skull – again! It was the skull of a young goat. Sadly someone removed the horn sheds and some predators nibbled on that skull, too. But I was so lucky!
I think a hunter got that goat head from a farmer and used it as bait. So maybe a fox grabbed it and brought it deeper in the forest.

The farmer put it down with a single gun shot. This shot damaged the skull, so it lost a part of its jaw. Poor guy, it wasn't full-grown yet.
Happily I strolled forward. Still watching, hoping for more skulls to find. But sadly there weren’t any. But I spotted beautiful moss, magnificent mushrooms on rotten trunks - and empty plastic bottles. What!? Why do people leave their trash in such a wonderful forest?! I don’t understand this behaviour. It’s so easy to carry an empty bottle home again – it’s even lighter when it’s empty. ARGH! So I took the trash with me, too.

Here and there I saw some liverleafs (what a strange name for a flower). Daww, they are so beautiful.

The sun started to sink so I decided to go back to my bicycle. I was filled with joy and happiness. I was relaxed and had my inner peace. I decided to go part of the way right next to the forest, because I love the border of the woods as well. I breathed the fresh clean air, but didn’t watch my steps and fall. Luckily I didn’t fall on my butt and barely managed to catch myself, but the whole action hurt nonetheless.
On my way back I found a lot of deer footprints. But even then there was no perfect one in between. I mull over if I should cast one anyway, but no, I lost interest in doing casts after I found two skulls. Sorry for no photos taken.
Finally I was by my bicycle again. But instead of riding home I went to the hedge. Always check out the hedge! A plastic tube and a bunch of liverleafes caught my eyes. And then I saw it: a red fox skull in the bush. And another skull. And again a skull! The whole shrubbery was full of bone bits and old toothless fox skulls. There were also some broken deer skulls. I squished myself into that shrubbery. Now, without any leaves it was easy. The ground was soft and littered with half rotten fur. This was the place of a hunter where he/she bails the skinned corpses of his/her prey.

If you click on this link, you will see a photo of a bunch skinned dead red foxes. An unlovely view.

I grabbed two of the toothless skulls and even found the old skull of a beech marten. Glee! Oh, and a lower jaw part wandered in my backpack too, tehee!

What a day! I rarely found so many skulls on one day. It was so fantastic and I think I have to check out that shrubbery next autumn again. I’m so thankful for that day, even it was very exhausting to walk uphill all the time. Anyway, it was like birthday and Christmas fell at the same time.

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