Friday, 30 October 2009


As the cold weather bites, quite a few of our woodland critters will be nestling down for a long, deep sleep called hibernation.
Please find below, some facts about one of our main hibernating species, the snake. A much feared, yet misunderstood reptile.

Scientific names: Adder (Vipera berus) - Grass Snake (Natrix natrix).
Life span: Adder (up to 15 years) - Grass Snake (up to 25 years).
Mating: April (although never in two consecutive years). Both species.
Birth: August to early September. Both.
Young: Adder (up to 10 live young) - Grass Snake (up to 30 eggs).
Venomous: Adder (yes) - Grass Snake (no)
Active: Between February and October (depending on conditions). Both.

Fatal adder bite statistics on humans for the past 133 years.

Fatalities: Since 1876 there have been 14 fatalities caused by the adders bite in Britain, the last being a 5 year old girl.
The number of adder bites on humans, which requires hospitalisation is 200 per-year. This equates to around 1 in 300,000 people.

People who see adders are sometimes mistaken by their size as this snake is really quite small, when compared to the grass snake. Males usually grow to 60cm and females 75cm in length, the reason they look bigger is because they flatten their bodies to absorb the sun over a larger area, to warm up faster when basking and this gives the impression that they are twice as big as they really are.

The smooth snake (Coronella austriaca) is also a native snake to Britain, but it is only found in southern England.

Hope you enjoy the new video.


Fox In The Wild

OK, he was quite a long way away, but it is still nice to see these animals acting naturally in the wild. I have edited the clip, but I filmed him for approx 10min. He is a young dog fox, probably one of this years cubs?


Thursday, 29 October 2009

BBC Glos Wildlife Feature

Click the link below, it will take you to a new deer feature, which I have written for the BBC Gloucestershire website.
Knocked Autumnwatch off the top spot, lol.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Fallow Bucks

Here are a few pics from my latest batch of fallow bucks, taken today in the forest.
(EDIT) I would just like to point out that I don't just walk into the forest and photograph deer like this. I sit, usually in very cramped, wet and cold places for up to 4hrs or more before I am rewarded with opportunities like these.
I am nursing a very sore back from my session today!

This melanistic fallow buck got a little frisky and jumped the fallen tree.

He then stood on the other side and looked out into the forest.

I have cropped this one. Common fallow buck.


Monday, 26 October 2009

Pics and Video From Today

Went walkabout earlier and found some more deer, although they didn't want to look at me today for some reason.
Must be my ninja skills?!

Can you see her? Click pic for larger view

I was tempted to jump on and hitch a ride!

My eldest daughter Alice was with me today, she is 14 years old and she sat in a cold, damp cramped environment for 3.5hrs and she was so quiet that these deer walked out no more than 20 feet in front of us.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Autumn in the Forest of Dean

I am reposting this video I created a while ago because it is about autumn and I love the record...
Forever Autumn by the Moody Blues...

Here are a couple of pics from the last few days...



Saturday, 24 October 2009

A Close Encounter

A close encounter with a large, mature fallow deer buck in the Forest of Dean, in October 2009.

Is this a true albino? Please comment...

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Another Fallow Buck

Another fallow buck, not as old as the last one, but still nice to see. Some doe's around also.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Fallow Buck

This is quite an impressive fallow deer buck with a few of his doe's in the Forest of Dean. Sorry about the shakey camera, no tripod today!

He is not that old, but he has some pretty impressive antlers already and I can't wait to see him in a few years time.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Water Voles

Are you doing your bit to help save our native species?
Through loss of habitat and the threat from mink, these mammals are in sharp decline and need our help to bring them back from the brink, or we will lose them from our Eco-system!
They have been killed in the past because people mistake them for rats.

The mink is a non native species, introduced from America and they are killing our native water voles, we saw this with the grey squirrel (another non native species introduced from America) and we did nothing to stop it, even after our native red squirrel was nearly wiped out. Now it is happening again.

Click Here To Help Save The Water Vole

Friday, 16 October 2009

Pics from BBC Points West

Well, I expect some will be looking for my pics featured on the TV last night, so here they are...

Fallow Doe (Dama dama)

Female Adder (Vipera berus)

Wild Boar (Sus scrofa)
White Fallow Buck (Dama dama)



Thursday, 15 October 2009

I'm a TV Star

Hi all,

Watch BBC Points West tonight 15.10.09 and the beloved Forest of Dean will be on, with yours truly expressing how much I love this place.
We stood in the rain for over three hours ruining some pretty expensive camera equipment, so I had better shine!

If it is not edited in time, it will be on Friday's show.


Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Forest Poems

A couple of poems as some of you liked my last one. This first one is simply called...
"The Forest of Dean" and if you haven't seen it, look at the first letter of each line. It spells out a wonderful place!

"The Forest of Dean"

From warm summer sun, to winters bite
Our seasons, a remarkable sight
Rivers winding and weaving away
Early morning, to end of day
Starlings flock, each others rock
Together they fly, I wonder why?

Otters playing, near the stream
Fade away to a distant dream

Done, my work will never be
Even if, they were all free
Ask yourself; is it worth the pain?
Never will it be for gain

This one is called "Too Macho"

The forestry paths, they look like a snake
Winding around, oh look there’s a drake
A newcomer ahead, oh no it’s a boar
They want them all dead; I find this the real bore!

Some say I am mad, to walk here alone
But after a while their voices just drone
As I walk at night, there is nothing to fear
But I do get a fright when I startle a deer!

From the wind in the trees
To a leaf on the breeze
I am really quite at ease

Some sit at home through the wind and the rain
Not me though, it’s never a pain
From tough winter snow, to autumn glow
The animals, they all know

I am at one, even after a fall
Sit there and listen, what is that call?
I love to roam and I never groan
For this place is my home

“Tree hugger”, huh, I’ve been called worse
Don’t they know, we all know how to curse!
Some think they’re too macho to do this thing
“But they just wear too much bling”!

To my friends and foe
Even the people I do not know
Do not judge me for what I do
For one day it will be you



Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Recent photographs

Here are some pics from the last couple of days.

I don't know what this bird is called! Maybe someone can help?

Red Eared Terrapin, or Red Slider. This is a alien species. Probably a discarded pet?

Grey Heron in the sun

Cormorant on a misty lake

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

BBC Made in England - Art from the Heart

As many of you reading this are probably aware, there is a literature festival being held over the next week at Cheltenham Town Hall.

The project I was involved in was organised and led by BBC Gloucestershire and the Arts Council England for Made in England.

I was one of 20 individuals selected from Gloucestershire to work with Marcus Moore and Ben Cavvana on a project called Art from the Heart, which saw each person select a place within the county that means a lot to them, photograph it from a unique perspective and write a poem about it.

I chose Woorgreen Lake in the Forest of Dean as this place means everything to me. As a boy I grew up around the forest and spent many weekends playing around this lake. As I grew older, my passion for wildlife and nature took over and Woorgreen Lake became my focal point for the forest.
There is another reason why this place means a lot to me. My parents introduced me to nature and wildlife at a very young age and if it were not for them, I may not be leading the life I am today. I have a great deal to thank them for and I will be forever grateful.

I will post links to the project and my photograph below, but here is my poem. It is supposed to symbolize how I can walk into our forest, stressed, angry and tired, but within a few moments I relax and become at one with nature and all my worries and stresses leave me.
I will always live in the Forest of Dean, I couldn't imagine my life without it and I want to thank Marcus and Ben for helping me share my passion.

Woorgreen Lake (Lost in Tranquillity)

As I Sit and watch with eyes glaring
Tensed and gnarled like an oak
The Buzzard soaring high “daring”
Looking through the water, I feel broke

I close my eyes and listen quietly
There are many places I have been
A passer by whispers politely
Asking what I have seen?

The walkers, the joggers, some think it’s a race
The beauty, it makes my heart ache
I could talk for hours about this place
From the snakes and the boar, to the deer and the drake

My inspiration and my rock (Woorgreen Lake)

In Pictures

Made in England - Art from the Heart

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Autumn is here

Here are some autumn pics from this year and previous years. All were taken in the Forest of Dean.