Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Monday, 15 December 2014

Roadkill: Grass Snake

Grass Snake Natrix natrix found dead on a road in Hungary, 2014, Gerard Gorman.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Log with a woodpecker chamber exposed

I found this piece of fallen tree trunk in a forest in the Bull Hills, Hungary yesterday. The rotten tree had snapped off at a weak spot, where a woodpecker had excavated its nesting cavity. Given the location and dimensions of the cavity it is almost certainly an old nest of White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos (Gerard Gorman). 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Wild Boar wallow

Wild Boar Sus scrofa wallow. Zemplen Hills, Hungary, November 2012.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Food store of Steppe Mouse

A food storage mound of Steppe Mouse Mus spicilegus. This one was around 1 metre across at the base and had been there for some time as weeds had grown up through it. Photo taken near Bogacs, Hungary, October 2014, by Gerard Gorman.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Long-eared Owl Roost

When looking for the winter roosts of Long-eared Owls Asio otus, do not look up into the trees, but look down at the ground below them. In this photo 100s of pellets and splashes of droppings indicate a major roost of owls above: over 70 birds were present at this site, 12 in this single tree. Conifers are often used, but not exclusively, and at sites where the conifer trees are 'full' owls will use adjacent deciduous trees, even those lacking leaves. Photo taken in a cemetery in South Moravia, Czech Republic, by Gerard Gorman.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Otter Spraint

Otter Lutra lutra droppings (known as spraint) are typically black and shiny when fresh. They are usually placed in the open by water on prominent places such as rocks. These were about 5cm long, contained hard crustacean fragments and placed on the top of the concrete wall of a canal. Photo taken in Hungary, October 2014, by Gerard Gorman.     

Monday, 13 October 2014

Two droppings together - grouse and mustelid

Here is a very interestig picture of the droppings of Red Grouse and a small mustelid (probably stoat). Taken recently on a peat-bog in Scotland by Laura B from Liverpool. 

Monday, 6 October 2014

eBook format of Tracks & Signs book

The recently published Pocket Guide to Tracks & Signs is also available as an eBook from where it can be downloaded and read on computers, iPads and iPhones (requires iOS 6.0 or later), Android tablets and smartphones, and e-readers (including Kobo, Sony and Nooks). For more info see here: Ebook

Monday, 22 September 2014

Dead Common Shrew

Common Shrew Sorex araneus - cause of death unknown. It is not unusual to find dead shrews with no obvious injuries, wounds or other signs that suggest the reason for their demise. Photo taken in Hungary by Gerard Gorman.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Red Deer antler

A shed antler of a stag Red Deer Cervus elaphus. Photo taken in Hungary by Gerard Gorman.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Beech Marten Dropping

Dropping of Beech Marten Martes foina. Note the fruit content and the dung beetle on the left. Aggtelek NP, Hungary, June 2014, Gerard Gorman.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Prepublication copy of book

I have finally got hold of a copy of my forthcoming (September 2014) book Pocket Guide to Tracks & Signs. Here is a sample!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Roadkill: Red Fox cub

This spring I came across several, on several days, dead fox cubs on roads in Hungary. I think it must have been the time when young foxes first ventured out on their own away from the den, and many died on roads. It was disturbing, I just cannot believe that all were 'accidents', that drivers could not have avoided them...     

Friday, 6 June 2014

Headless Mouse

A mouse with no head (most likely House Mouse Mus musculus) on a straw bale. It is unclear what killed, decapitated the mouse and left it here. Photo: Lake Tisza, Hungary, by Gerard Gorman.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Violet Carpenter Bee hole

This is the nest hole of a Violet Carpenter Bee, excavated in a rotten wooden post. Note the sawdust below the entrance. Photo taken near Apaj, Hungary, May 2014, by Gerard Gorman.  

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Feeding sign of White-backed Woodpecker

This method of foraging by White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos is diagnostic. No other woodpecker in Europe works on timber in this manner. Dead or rotting stumps and standing trees are finely worked from top to bottom, de-barked and chiselled, as the bird searches for wood-boring beetle larvae. Photo by Gerard Gorman taken in the Zemplen Hills, Hungary, May 2014. 

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Cover of TRACKS AND SIGNS book

So, finally, it seems we have a date (September 2014) for the publication of my book TRACK AND SIGNS. And after several versions, here is the probable cover. 

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Red Squirrel - gnawed pine cone

Pine cone gnawed by Red Squirrel Sciurus vulgaris with scattered scales. Photo taken in the Paklenica NP, Croatia, by Gerard Gorman. 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

More impressive Black Woodpecker work

Black Woodpeckers can make some really big holes in trees when getting at invertebrate prey. The hand, to show the scale, is that of an adult woman. Photo by Gerard Gorman, Slovakia, April 2014.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Black Woodpecker feeding signs on log

The hole (about 12cm long) in this dead, fallen tree was made by Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius. Black Woodpeckers are very comfortable working on logs like this, and on the ground itself. Note the large wood-chips. Taken in the Buda Hills, Budapest, Hungary, by Gerard Gorman.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Wild Boar Hoof Print in Melting Snow

This hoof print is of a Wild Boar Sus scrofa. Despite the print becoming unclear because of the melting snow, the two points made by the dew-claws at the rear, which are spaced wider than the front of the print, are clear. The overall size and broadness suggests a large male. Photo taken in Aragon, Spain, March 2014, by Gerard Gorman.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Tree Stump Worked by White-backed Woodpecker

Many (but not all) woodpeckers peck and hack into trees to find invertebrate prey. With practise, and local knowledge, the signs that woodpeckers leave when foraging on and in timber can often be assigned to exact species. This image shows a tree stump that has been worked by White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos. This kind of systematic, total shaving of dead stumps is typical for this species when it searches for wood-boring beetle larvae. Note the wood-chips and 'sawdust' on the ground nearby. Photo taken in the Bukk Hills, Hungary, by Gerard Gorman.  

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Red Deer antler

Shed antler of a stag Red Deer Cervus elaphus. Hungary, Gerard Gorman.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Rock Nuthatch nest

Nest of Rock Nuthatch Sitta neumayer. Mala Paklenica, Paklenica NP, Croatia. Taken in August 2013 by Josip Ledinscak.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Great Bustard Feather

Feather of a Great Bustard Otis tarda in fresh snow. Kiskunsag, Hungary, 2013, Gerard Gorman.