8th March 2018

Beautiful weather again after the rain and snow of the last week. I fixed the bird table and it is now higher so that the dog next door cannot eat the food on it. I also stuck the other pole into the ground with the peanut butter on it, I hope to attract some trunk clinging birds to it – woodpeckers, tree creepers and nuthatches perhaps. We will see. I think it maybe too exposed for them to fly right out into the middle of the lawn. The deer have been very active recently. Last night they were in the front and back garden and when the dog barked, we looked out and they were just trotting off down the road. Thank goodness they did not eat any more of the apple trees. I sat out in the sit~spot for a while watching the birds going back and forth in the sun. They were happy to just get on and do their own thing, nothing really disturbed them, apart from me to start with, they sounded very upset that i was sitting in their spot. I saw the first butterfly on the snow, couldn’t be sure which variety it was, but I thought it maybe a red admiral. I also saw a song thrush a good way away on the top of a pine tree surveying the valley for a long time.

I walked into the woods at about 5pm to take the dog out and listen to the birds. There was a song thrush and a blackbird in two separate patches calling out their evening songs and then they changed to an alarm call when I came along. We walked up to the boar field and to my surprise I looked into the wood and there was a group (a singular) of wild boar snuffling around minding their own business. This is the first sighting of a large family group of boar I have ever seen around here. The dog had not spotted them and she kept walking so I stood for a while and watched them. There were occasional squeals from the babies and grunts from the mothers (I read that the males do not join the large family groups but stay on their own in the woods). By this time, the dog was walking back to me and I didn’t want her to see them, so we continued walking down along the ski piste. I was following a track made by a human with the same shoes as me, down into the bottom field towards the second waterfall. Tom Brown is right, human racking is not so interesting as animal tracking.

When we walked back up to the boar spot, there were still two enormous females trotting through. They grunted very loudly when they spotted me and then took off up into the woods and I think that must have been their alarm call to each other and the group. I went into where they had been grubbing around and there was a lot of activity, tracks and upturned soil. I am going to go back tomorrow and sit out on a tree clump and watch them come up the hill to their spot. I hope that I will also be able to get a trigger camera into their patch fairly soon.