I could quite easily make a home in the Forest of Dean. It’s such a magical place, home to elusive species like Hawfinch, Firecrest, Nightjar, Willow Tit, Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers and the only population of Wild Boar in Wales. Today’s trip was forced after two weeks of ill health, of which I still haven’t fully recovered, but I refused to be stuck indoors any longer with this beautiful weather we’ve been having. I’ve planned to scan a spot that showed a lot of Boar activity two months ago, in the hope that I would find some new born piglets. Their stripes on a piglet (also called humbugs) are perfect camouflage in the forest and their preferred nesting spot in thick bracken makes them pretty invisible. If it wasn’t for the large Mother making a racket to warn me off, I wouldn’t have even spotted the piglets. It all happened so fast and this was after 4-5 hours of walking but I think I made the most of the opportunity as best as I could with the gear I had available.
Moving on to the Adder! As if the Boar wasn’t enough to make my day, if you’ve read previous blogs you’ll know how much time I’ve spent yomping around local heathland looking for Adder, that and I lost a very expensive pair of sunglasses while searching for said Adder. I gave in though, and travelled to a known ‘hotspot’ pun intended, in the Forest of Dean, only to find not 1, but 3! basking in the midday sun. They all appear to be males and were much smaller than I was expecting.. probably why I’ve never seen one before.