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Elevated tracks in the snow shaped by the bora wind

Prospekt Fauna

Photo 1. Elevated tracks in the Obruč Mountain cluster
(Photo by Sunčica Strišković)


In our previous report on tracks, we displayed several
tracks left by animals in fresh, deep snow (?more). This year’s winter
is likely to be remembered for quite some time because of the forceful
bora wind that repeatedly whipped the snow-covered wilderness of the littoral
mountains. On Obruč Mountain, we came across something unusual and intriguing
– elevated animal tracks, created by the bora wind (Photo 1). It is clear
from the photo that the prints were left by a large animal, probably a
wolf or lynx (although the type of animal is not relevant to our story).
The elevated tracks were created by the weight of the animal, through
its paws, compressing the powder snow that had fallen over an older layer
of hardened snow. Then, when the bora wind began to blow, it swept away
the powder snow forming drifts elsewhere. The loose snow between the tracks
was no match for the bora wind, unlike the hard snow compressed by the
animal’s paws. These elevated, oval-shaped islets of compressed snow (Photo
2) remained intact on the hardened lower layer of old snow (which the
bora wind could not blow away), leaving a clearly visible and visually
interesting series of paw tracks. While this phenomenon may not be rare,
it is the first time we have come across it in our animal tracking.

Marko Randić, Marko Modrić, Sunčica Strišković and Ivana

Photo 2. Elevated tracks – islets of elevated, compressed snow, around
which the bora wind has swept away powder snow (Photo by Sunčica Strišković)