Tracks and Signs
by Alex White
Just a quick blog about the Recorders conference that I attended on Saturday.
The event was hosted by Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre who collect, analyse and share geodiversity and biodiversity information in Berkshire and Oxfordshire.
Throughout the day information and updates on the past year were given.
Before lunch, there was a talk about bats and tree roosts. It was really interesting to see how thermal imaging can be used to monitor bats without disturbing them, especially when we got to see a film clip of 44+ bats leaving a single tree.
However, the highlight of the day was a workshop by Bob Cowley on mammal tracks and signs.
We learnt how to distinguish between fox, dog, badger and cat prints. Foxes have an oval-shaped print, with hair marks in the middle and the pads are roughly all the same size. Dog prints are more circular in shape and have a large palm pad. Cat’s generally don’t show their claws on the prints as they are retractable. Badgers have five toes, although the ‘thumb’ sometimes doesn’t show. The pads are closer together at the front.
With deer prints, it’s the 3rd and 4th toe that makes the print. The size shows the species, Muntjace being the smallest, with its asymmetrical print, and around Oxfordshire, the largest is the fallow deer which looks like a church arched window. When Roe deer run you can sometimes see the dewclaw in the print.