Old tree stump hacked open in typical fashion by Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius. Note the oval hole (this one 12cm high and 5cm wide) and large woodchips (some 6cm long), scattered around. In Europe this kind of work is only done by Black Woodpecker, the largest woodpecker on the continent. Zempén Hills, Hungary, Gerard Gorman.
Mole-rat mounds, Kiskunság, Hungary, May 2015. These mounds are around a metre across, much bigger than those of true moles (which are not related). It is unclear which species of Mole-rat this (Lesser or Balkan?) as the taxonomy of this group is under review.
This huge (approx 20cm x 15cm) freshly made hole is the work of Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius). In Europe only this species makes such holes. The edges of the hole are cut with almost mechanical precision by this woodpecker with its sharp, chisel-shaped beak. In most cases such holes are made when tree-dwelling carpenter ant colonies are sought. Buda Hills, Hungary, April 2015 (Gerard Gorman).
Here are 2 examples of droppings of Greylag Goose Anser anser. Apaj, Hungary, April 2015. Old one (dry and dark) on the left, fresh one (damp and green) on the right. Both about 5cm long and 0.7-1.3cm thick.
In this photo is a newly excavated hole made by Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius. This is clearly a foraging hole not a nest-hole. Nest-holes are more precise, smaller, oval or roundish. This large, vertical, slit-shape is typical for this species: no other woodpecker (indeed no other animal) in Europe makes such holes. These are usually hacked into living trees that have hollow cores due to rot and where invertebrate prey resides. Pest County, Hungary, March 2015, Gerard Gorman.
Pellets of Bubo ascalaphus, Pharoah Eagle Owl, Morocco, Feb 2014. About 3-4cm long when whole, but broken. Mobile phone for compsarison of size. Blue items in the pellets suggested undigested chitin from insects.
A new book on European wildlife signs published September 2014. Click the cover image for more details
WELCOME TO TRACKS & SIGNS
This blog deals with the tracks and signs that wildlife leave. These include foot, hoof, claw and paw prints, trails, dung, scat, sprait, pellets, spawn, eggs, feathers, fur, nests, burrows, dens, bones, food remains etc. Get out there, get tracking and please contribute with comments and photos. Gerard Gorman
Central & Eastern European Wildlife
Gerard Gorman is author of this book, published in 2008 by Bradt. It has sections on Looking For Wildlife and Tracks And Signs.