Saturday, 29 January 2011

Lancing pawprint

2011 is really hotting up on the sightings front but then, as i blogged before in bigcatsinsussex, late jan usually sees an upsurge,4 in 8 days is a little unusual though,the latest today in Lancing.A large black cat,the usual thing,small head,long body,chunky legs and very long tail(typical British bigcat) was seen trotting along a hedgeline at daybreak.I was due to go far east on trailcam duty and verify some photos but that could wait for a cat seen trotting in an arable field on reasonably muddy ground meant the very good chance of finding some pawprints.After several phonecalls to the witness,many thanks for your patience candy floss Carol!i found the exact spot and true to form there was the expected furrow which the plough leaves at the edge of the field and is harder than the surrounding ground and so easier walking and i,ve noticed that cats along with other animals like hares tend to follow these,they are also sunken in the ground and less muddy.Padding without clawmarks was also found and it wasn,t until the chalk-with-flints soil gave way to a brief outcrop of clay-with-flints,noticeable by the brown rather than grey tinge that i found a decent mark.Though the best i found wasn,t complete as the recent fierce cold,easterly wind had dried out the ground on exposed spots such as this it certainly was discernible.Also a bird kill was found which is usual when attending sites and also this sheeps foot which was completely bizarre.What is usual for me is to try and contact any farmers in the area who i might know or not and see if they have any info they would like to input,sometimes they do and sometimes they don,t but if you don,t ask you don,t get is my experience.So,a call to the chap who kept the nearby flock of mixed breed sheep was met with sincerity and he very kindly met me there for a chat.He hadn,t seen sight nor sound of a cat day or night and his sheep had never ever been touched which has left me wondering where the sheeps foot came from,the nearest other flock,he told me,was a couple of miles away to the north.Anyway,it had turned out that we had met before briefly at the South of England show and i took the chance of telling him about our talk night coming up in Lewes and that the acclaimed bigcat author Merrily Harpur,who i had just contacted for the first time, in conjunction with her publisher, Roving Press of Dorset,had been very generous in these hard times to offer one of her books Roaring Dorset for the charity raffle,"oh yes,i know them"he said,for the publisher is married to his relative.It,s a small world!It,s also a very crowded one for after going back to fetch some plaster to take a cast,i returned to find the pawprint to be trashed by a human walking all over it..............

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