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Sunday, 22 January 2017

A Winter Walk—With Added Shivers...

One of our dog-walking routes
We haven't had many bitter days here so far this winter, so the wildlife has been fending for itself, deep in the woods. The exception are the grey squirrels, who try their luck every day with our supposedly vermin-proof bird feeders, whatever the weather.

Despite the big animals such as deer and badger being pretty much invisible during mild daylight hours, Alex the dog and I had quite a shock the other day. I was glad we had the company of OH when it happened.  

We keep Alex on the lead until we're deep in the woods as he can act the naughty adolescent if he spots one of his doggy friends heading in a different direction. Once he's let off to race away through the trees, we wander along looking at what's new in the forest. 

A crossbill. Guess how it got its name!
That day, we spotted a flock of  crossbills high in the fir trees. I got a new bird book for Christmas, which said  the crossbills' very dry diet of pine seeds means they often come down to drink at forest pools to quench their thirst.

There are several boar wallows on the route we were taking. It was so cold on that particular day, I thought taking a bath would be the last thing on a boar's tiny mind, so I let OH and the dog canter on ahead while I went to see if the birds would come down to drink. A short stroll took me to a pool in a large clearing. I crept up to see if there were any crossbills about. There was no sign of them, but something large was rustling about in the brambles and dead bracken on other side of the glade. That made me retreat in a hurry. 

OH and the dog spotted me moving fast, and came to see what was happening. Their sudden arrival put up the big old boar I'd heard in the undergrowth. He shot between us and sped away, disappearing in a flash. It happened so fast Alex was too surprised to react, so OH had him under control before he could think of giving chase.  
A wild boar sow and piglet

I suppose it proves that unless you come between a mother and her baby, the boar really are more afraid of us than we are of them.

Despite that, neither OH nor I was going to give chase to get a photo of the animal we saw. The picture of a sow and piglet on here comes from a brave contributor to Pixabay!