In the beginning of February for the first time during Winter 2020 the air temperature was below zero Celsius for several days. And finally it snowed on February 6. The employees of Polistovsky Reserve science department use this natural condition for providing snow tracking for accounting of animals.
Winter 2020 was unusually warm and snowless.
The Daphne (Daphne mezereum) and The Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa) bloomed on the Polistovsky bog in December 2019. The precipitation fell mainly in the form of rain. That is why there was a need to "catch winter by the tail" and immediately start to count animal tracks in the snow.
Snow tracking is used to conduct reliable monitoring which allows one to count the number of animals living in the reserve. Snow tracking is carried out annually on the same routes.
There are 5 routes in the territory of the reserve and its buffer zone, each of which is about 15 kilometers long, usually such a route is covered in one day by a snowmobile. However, due to the weather conditions this winter, the routes through the forest had to be walked, and part of the route through the bog was assisted by the “Argo” (a “bog vehicle”). In total, about 19 kilometers were tracked in a day.
Snow tracking traditionally involves scientists and state inspectors. The conditions in the forest and in the bog was very difficult for marching, the inspectors fell several times crossing thin ice, the snow barely covered the ground and bogs, the animal tracks were poorly visible, but any way the reserve employees were able to note fox, hare, marten and black grouse tracks.
Now the department of science is processing the data. If during February or March several more frosty and snowy days occur with stable snow cover on which traces will be visible, the snow tracking will continue.