Natural Connections – Winter's tracks and trails
This time of year is perfect for adventuring outside when it is frosty or has been raining to explore the wildlife that explore our greenspaces while we are all tucked up in bed fast asleep. On snowy or frosty days you can see the remnants of deer tracks across grassy fields while on rainy days you can spot animal tracks in the mud. Even better if it has been raining then with the temperature dropping the tracks are frozen waiting to be discovered.
There are other clues to watch out for, poo on paths, logs or stones may come from pine marten or foxes, while badgers like to be very clean and create little lavatories in which to do their business (very posh are our badgers). Surprisingly wildlife poo smells quite nice – but not fox, fox poo is just eeeww! If you have a dog you will know what I mean. Otter’s spraint smells of jasmine, badger is sweet and musky and pine marten scat smells of parma-violets sweets – who knew!
So what do you look out for when looking for animal tracks? Well badger, otter and pine marten are all related and they have 5 toes and a base pad, fox tracks are like a small dog whose toes have smooshed together. Birds are easy to spot with their distinctive feet but look out for those webbed ones too and both rabbits and squirrels have bigger back paws than front so their tracks are quite distinct. Exploring outdoor in the winter is great fun and with 4 Scottish Wildlife Reserves in Cumbernauld the wood is you oyster! Have fun exploring and don’t forget to share your images with our Facebook page.