Anna came home today! Yay!
As she was feeling tired and jet-lagged, after a bit of an epic journey, we decided to go for a slightly longer wander across the fields, to help her stay awake...blow away the cobwebs and all that...Jazz seemed relatively lively so we thought we'd see how far we could get.
We followed a track across the wheat field, to these old outbuildings...I find them cool and interesting, and like to visit occasionally. They're rarely used, other than to store an assortment of mysterious, odd-looking farm machinery.
Consequently, there's always signs of wildlife in there...owls, pheasants, rabbits and badgers use it as shelter, at least, and sure enough, when I approached there was a pheasant roosting in the dark interior. Once he'd departed (with the usual crazy squawking), we ventured in to see what we could see.
There were the usual signs, rabbit droppings, a variety of bird nesting material. Then, hunkered down behind an old tyre, I found a somewhat bedraggled looking squab - a young pigeon.
We left him alone and wandered back out into the daylight. As I strolled around the back of the outbuildings, I noticed some unusual footprints.
We'd been looking at prints in the mud as we'd crossed the fields...there were human welly prints, accompanied by a large dog...possibly Diesel the Doberman, who lives next door.
But there was another footprint, cloven hooved, and large...we scratched our heads and thought maybe a large deer, though it seemed unlikely.
Round the side of the outbuildings there were a number of these prints leading along the gap between the wheat and the hedgerow.
Here you can see two prints. Note the indentation by the 3rd knuckle of my index finger, and large, splayed hoof.
Here's a slightly closer view, and again you can see the depression just above the tip of my thumb.
There was an accompanying trail of slimy poo!
We'd briefly considered whether the hoofprint might belong to a Fallow Deer, although it would have to be a huge deer, with the size of the print - 3-4" long.
That theory bit the dust as soon as we saw this poo - I don't know what this animal has been eating, but it's clearly not predominantly grasses!
Could it be a wild boar?!
I saw one less than a hundred yards from this spot, 8 years ago. There were a number of sightings in the area at the time, and local speculation was that they'd escaped from some (unspecified) boar farm.
But since then there's not been a hint of them...but still, these prints...that poo...
We strolled home discussing whether we could find somewhere to put the trailcam, and determined to look up boar prints when we got home.
Passing a completely different field, we saw a deer. A Roe Deer, I think - there has been a family group living in these fields for a couple of years.
I took some photo's, but you can't even see there's anything there, let alone that it's a deer!
The deer is smack on the vertical mid-line of this shot, and around 55-60% up from the bottom...don't bother looking though, because you can't see a thing!
We bimbled on, and came under the watchful eyes of a small flock of newly shorn sheep.
|feeling a little sheepish?|
Amusingly, they seemed a tad more skittish than usual, as if embarrassed by their nakedness.
Anyway, once home, I googled wild boar hoofprints...this is definitely a wild boar!!!
We've lent the trailcam out at the moment, but I'll ask Anna to retrieve it...
It would be a real coup to get a photo of one for my blog!