Friday, 25 March 2011

Snakes, Birds, Toads and Boar!

Been a hectic few weeks, but I have managed to get out now and then with the camera! Here are a few pics from my time in the Forest of Dean over the last month.

This is a grey heron and it was by far one of the largest I have ever seen, with a wingspan of at least 6 feet!

Toads everywhere and I was spoilt for choice, although I did have to lye in the mud for this shot!

My first adder shot of 2011. A male, which proved very tricky to get close too!

And finally a wild boar sow, complete with piglets!

I spotted their movement from a distance and then proceeded to "try" and get close, using the trees as cover. There were lots of brambles etc all around, which pushed me to get even closer for a clearer shot, bad idea and I should have known better.
Suddenly one of the piglets spotted me and bolted straight back to mum, which left me looking like an idiot for pushing my luck! They disappeared over a small hill, so I quietly crept up and as I approached the top, the sound was like a thousand squirrels jumping around in the leaf litter.
As I peered over the top I could see the piglets rooting around, so I brought the camera up to my eye. This is when I heard it! A grunt from the sow - she was to my right with her head bowed, staring straight at me, no more than 6 metres away!
As I was lying on the ground, I thought to myself "I now look smaller than her and she is probably deciding what action to take against me", so I quickly got up to the crouched position. This was not a deterrent as she then ran about 3 metres towards me and stopped. The piglets soon joined her and this is when I got this photograph.
I tried to move to get the branch out of the frame, but as I did she legged it with piglets closely behind.
I did find them again, but it was obvious that my presence was causing her stress and concern, so I took a few pics and left them to forage in peace.


Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Eagle Owl Shot - Information Requested

A rare (to Britain) eagle owl was recently shot near Coleford in the Forest of Dean. If anyone reading this has any information regarding this shooting please use the contact information below, or email me directly.
All information will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.

Simon Clemett PS1256, Forest North Safer Community Team, Gloucestershire Constabulary.
Contact Simon by calling 0845 0901234 and quoting Incident 447 of 25/2/11.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Eagle Owl Shot in the Forest of Dean!

They might be a native species, but the eagle owl (pictured below) is a rare sight in the UK today. Persecution saw the demise of this bird many years ago, but over the past decade they have started to repopulate areas of the UK, to the dismay of many people and they are once again being targeted!
For over a year, a tame (escaped) eagle owl had been living happily in the Forest of Dean. However, a few days ago he went missing after a local resident heard gunfire and for a few days of not seeing him, they feared the worst!
Luckily a local workman found the owl in the middle of a road on his way to work and managed to catch him by throwing his coat over him. He was taken to a vet where it was discovered that he "had" been shot, through the wing!
He is now being rehabilitated at the International Centre for Birds of Prey and as I know this centre and the owner well, I know he will be looked after well. I just hope he is still able to fly after the wound has healed.

I have said this many times, but persecution is one of the biggest threats to our wildlife today and I for one am totally disgusted that anyone could, or would want to kill such a magnificent animal.
When first discovered over a year ago, this bird had jessies on his legs, which meant that he was once a captive bird. He was loved by the people of the local village and they were gutted when this atrocity happened.
If the person who shot this bird is reading this, I hope you are caught very soon and that you receive the maximum penalty available. Obviously education has not worked with you, so perhaps your punishment will serve as a reminder to others who persecute our wildlife that it is wrong and illegal.

The Eagle Owl