Wednesday, 28 July 2010

A Few Birds and a Snake!

Click Images for Larger Size

Juvenile Robin

Female Adder

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Juvenile Female)




Friday, 23 July 2010

Silver-washed Fritillary Butterfly

Don't know how rare these are in the Forest of Dean, but it is the first time I have seen one. Excuse the quality, taken with my camcorder.

Silver-washed Fritillary Butterfly


Thursday, 22 July 2010

More on the Wild Boar

Due to some of the comments below, I have decided to write some more, where the wild boars are concerned.

A few dogs have been injured and some have been killed since the boars arrived, but this has been with dogs off lead, approaching the boar.
The Forestry Commission are managing them, but this will never be enough for some and too much for others. Some want an outright cull because the boars don't fit in with their nanny state, while others want them left alone to breed out of control. Neither of the above is the right answer, the boars need to be managed to a healthy sustainable level and this will take a while to get right.

I can understand how a person must feel if they lose their dog to the wild boar and I can also understand the hatred, which must follow. However, as I have always said, the forest is home to thousands of wild animals that have “themselves” been terrorised by dogs, off lead, for decades.
Nobody gives a damn about this and the only reason why our wildlife is persecuted in the way that it is, is because they have no voice, they can't defend themselves. Well they couldn't until now that is!
There are certain people that see the forest as a playground for their dog. I have never seen it this way and it’s about time that these people started to respect the forest and see it for what it is. Home to our wildlife.

We should and always will be able to walk dogs in the forest, but if we choose to let them run wild, then the risk of injury and death of our pet is down to us. Its like taking your dog for a walk down the street on a lead away from the traffic, or letting it wander around off lead where it could run into the road and be killed by a car. Who is to blame, the dog, the car, or the owner?
Hundreds of dogs are killed by adders every year in the UK. This reptile is also hated by many and has also been persecuted in the past, but even though they are hated like the wild boar, they are protected and accepted. Why, because they have always been here.
People forget that the wild boars are a native species like the adder, but as they have been away for so long people are not prepared to accept them as it means they will have to change “their” ways to enable them to fit in. They are not prepared to do this, so this is why the wild boar will never be accepted.

Other countries live alongside far more dangerous animals than the wild boar and they manage. Why, because they have a healthy respect for them, something, which is sadly lacking in the Forest of Dean.

Your comments are always welcome. If you disagree with my views then please tell me as I am open to all sorts of constructive criticism.


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Wild Boar - Latest - Newspaper Article

Below is a link to an on-line article I wrote for my local newspaper, regarding the wild boar.
The on-line edition will only be available for one week, so I have pasted the article below also, for future reading.
Your comments will be appreciated and please feel free to say what you want, without being insulting of course, as I value all opinions.

The article is on page 10.


Ward’s Wild Life

Rob Ward has been photographing wildlife in the Forest for years. His views are based on that long experience.

Header: They’re just saying back off. End of story.

Sub-header: Can we co-exist in the Forest? Probably not!

SOME of the recent reports of charges and attacks by the boar just don’t quite add up and I would like to address this. I am not calling anyone a liar or disputing their concerns but this is now a very controversial animal and the whole facts need to be given, not exaggerated and they need to be precise.

Firtly, the recent report by the cyclists said that they were apparently charged by a male boar. They said that the boar started charging from about 30 yards away and that they had to pick up and carry their bikes to a fence and throw them over then obviously climb over the fence themselves.
I have seen wild boar run and believe me they are fast, getting up to speeds of 25mph in very short distances. If the two people on bikes were that close and if the boar really did charge them, they must have been on top of the fence or they must be Olympic-quality sprinters because if this was a charge, the boar would have reached them in seconds.
Secondly, the dog, which was butted at Boys Grave recently. If these boars wanted to hurt this dog, the husky would have either been gored or even killed. The boar butted him, this was the boars way of saying go away! This was not an ambush and, in my opinion, it certainly wasn’t an attack. The owner had the dog on a lead and was able to pull him away.
If wild boar hate all dogs and attack every time they see one, why didn’t they do it on this occasion? If they wanted to hurt that dog then they would have - end of.
Wild boar have approached me on numerous occasions in the past. On two separate occasions I have had a sow (with piglets) run towards me. Once I was on my own (I have it on video) and once with a friend, (I have pictures). So I can understand how it can be frightening for people who have not experienced it before. But remember, wild boar have poor eyesight. They can see you, but they need to get close to see exactly what you are.
They can only distinguish blue from the three primary colours and if they have dependant young, their first instinct is to protect and chase away a possible threat.
In my experiences as soon as they identify us as human they will stop and then move away with their young. Never, in more than 50 sightings have I ever been charged.
During the severe snow of January 2010, with a friend I tracked down a sounder of between eight and 10 wild boar. We were off the main path and it was very hard getting around with the amount of snow. We spotted them rooting under a group of trees after about 10 minutes of searching, so we decided to get as close as possible. With my video camera I moved to within 10 metres before one of them spotted us. Within seconds of seeing us they ran about three metres and then stopped, looked back and ran again, this time disappearing.
If you have a dog with you, then it is a different ball game. They don’t see a domesticated friendly dog, they see either a hunting dog or a wolf. Their natural instinct has taught them not to run from these animals but to stand and fight to protect themselves and their young. They are very good at it too.
Will an unprovoked wild boar charge and attack a human? Yes, I believe it is possible as they are wild animals and anything is possible, but looking at statistics from around the globe, it is extremely rare.
Hunters from other European countries have maimed wild boar with a poor shot and subsequently been attacked, sometimes even killed. However, this is a different scenario as the boar becomes a wounded animal which is capable of defending itself, so an attack is inevitable in these circumstances.
Can we co-exist with the wild boar in the Forest of Dean in the 21st century? No, probably not as history has a habit of repeating itself. Its only a matter of time before the wild boar are once again extinct from our forests and just a memory. Not hunted to extinction like they were in the 17th century, not chosen by nature, but eradicated through our intolerance of change and our inability to learn and adjust.


Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The Buzzard & the Buck

First, we have a buzzard. This is now our most commonly seen bird of prey in Britain.
This was a big old bird that was taking a nap in a tree when I found it. Look at the size of the talons, pretty impressive!

It then took flight, but went the wrong way! Never mind, still nice to see up close.

Next we have a poor young fallow deer buck. He was being eaten alive by flies and midges. I know exactly how he felt as they were everywhere, in my ears and eyes.

His ears didn't stop flicking, trying to keep the flies at bay. As you can see, the flies were out in mass! I wish I could flick my ears.

It got so bad that he decided to just shut his eyes while munching on the buttercups.