I then went to Cannop and was amazed by how much mess the Boar have made of the entrance and picnic area. This got me thinking about the Boar. The Mandarin Ducks seem to have paired off now, the males are looking very striking.
I called in at Beechenhurst and whilst there I spoke to a couple who used to live in the forest 10 years ago and were back for a visit. They told me a tale of how, whilst walking their dog yesterday (mon 7th), they had come across a Sow boar and 4 piglets. unfortunately their dog was off the lead and it ran towards the group barking and possibly intent on chasing the boar off. Not surprisingly the boar had attacked their dog, tossing it into the air and lunging at it. They described how, in their panic, they had dashed towards the boar screaming and gesticulating. Fortunately the sow saw them as too big a threat together and turned tail and trotted off, complete with piglets.
The dog was shaken but unhurt and they were very grateful for that.
I discussed with them the need to have their dog on a lead, they explained that they had not realised that the boar were in the forest, there had been none when they lived in the area. They had spotted the upturned verges in the forest but had not immediately realised what was responsible. They assured me that from that moment on the dog had remained on its lead, which they had lengthened to give it a bit more freedom. I was left thinking that the Forestry are not doing enough to educate visitors to the forest about the boar. The few signs they have dotted around the forest do not go far enough to inform the visitors of the dangers of having dogs off the lead. There are also not enough of them.
The couple had met the boar in the area around Mallards Pike/ Soudley as they described it "off the beaten track". With this in mind I set off to track them down, of course I realised there was every likelihood that the group would be long gone but I thought there might be others in the area. I saw lots of signs.
How much rubbing has this tree seen to completely take off the bark?
This wallow was not the best example I saw but it was in the best light, I saw a total of four in a very small area. Another tree had been well used too.
So lots of signs but no actual boar. I believe that they are trying to keep themselves to themselves but with the forest being so over used by cyclists and walkers alike they will obviously come into contact with humans on a daily basis. I have changed my opinion slightly, I do believe that there is a need for active culling by the Forestry Commision. I still maintian however that the forest is a better place for having the boar within it.
On a slightly different note I never saw a single deer either, which, considering how much ground I covered, I do find unusual.
I finished my day with a little time at the Arboretum, I bumped into the two Bobs, Bushell and Jones. They had spent the day together without much success, but they too had wound their day up getting shots of the little beauts who visit the feeding areas.
The chaffinch, starting to look good.
Then the Blue Tit.
A very nice day in glorious spring sunshine.