Slot 2 participants arrived on the train from Bratislava on Saturday and had a busy afternoon with safety and science briefings. In addition to Katie, who has stayed on from slot 1, we now have Tiffany and daughter Samantha from the USA, Voja from Australia/UK, Vincent from Sweden, Yvonne from Switzerland and Nadine from the UK. On Sunday Tomas, Paul and Phil ran the equipment and data collection training including some navigation and GPS skills. In the afternoon we hiked the transect up to Lake Blatna under a blue sky and sunshine, a rare opportunity to bring out the sunglasses. We reset our camera traps at Lake Blatna and were lucky enough to see a pair of roe deer, although, unlike last week, no lynx or wolf tracks could be found near the lake.
The heavy snowfall that we had near the end of last week seems to have brought the red deer lower down into the valley as indicated by an increased number of tracks. It is likely that the wolves follow the red deer, their main prey item and today’s Transect 2 group with Paul, Tiffany, Samantha and Vincent found tracks of a five-strong wolf pack close to the main valley road towards the middle section of the valley. No sunshine today, although the temperature is relatively mild with some rain in the night that has removed snow cover from the lowest parts of the valley. Tomas and Katie came back today from there transect with some pictures of black woodpecker and red deer. Noro and Yvonne came back from their transect with an empty flask of Noro’s famous ‘plum juice’.