Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 07/05/2012

Mrs Tiggy Winkle

7th May 2012, originally uploaded by

We’ve been in our current house over 6 years now and have driven through some nearby woods regularly but have never stopped to investigate them until today… and it’s been our loss. Rain had been falling constantly all morning, the sky a dull overcast grey, the type of grey that doesn’t inspire when it comes to photography unless it’s to act as a white balance reference card. With a break in the precipitation we headed out dressed in all our layers to see what this ancient woodland had to offer, a leaflet printed by the local council helping to act as a guide, successfully steering us through the forest.

The forest is carefully and sensitively managed with a number of different habitats created to help sustain and lure in a wide variety of wildlife but one particular creature had caught my attention on the leaflet, and one I’ve written about before… nope not Glossy Ibis, well remembered (from last night ) and no, before you say anything, it’s not Short Eared Owls either… think lower down on the ground… legless but certainly not ‘armless, the UK’s only venomous snake.. the Adder. Trees have been cleared away from sections of the wood (surely that stop it from being a wood then!) to allow for the creation of heathland, in particular Bilberries have been given space to grow and which were now quite prolific around this deforested space. The low lying plants were in flower with their characteristic red berry which will then produce Bilberries which could quite easily be mistaken for Blueberries which isn’t surprising as they are related to them.

I wandered carefully and slowly through the bracken, heather, bilberries and over fallen tree trunks and branches hoping to catch even just a glimpse of a snake, in fact I would have been content to see a discarded skin of a snake, so desparate have i become to see an Adder in the wild but after yesterday my luck had run out. Content with a few pictures of flowers and plants we meandered our way through the woodland, enjoying the vistas and then the sun which had muscled its way between the clouds and warming up sodden land.

I was mulling over what photo I could use for today’s blog as we arrived home where to my amazement a hedgehog was basking on the warmth of the tarmac driveway. Needless to say, I was out of the car as quick as a flash, camera in hand and slowly tried to approach the animal. Unlike a number of recent occurrence I blogged about, this time I remember the right way to go about approaching wildlife and took my time to get close, showing the hedgehog that I wasn’t a threat at all. With the Sigma 150mm attached I had to get close to be able to fill the frame and I must say the creature was incredibly tolerant. Its placidness did concern me enough to think about calling the RSPCA for some advice (I was planning on providing some slugs and worms for sustenance if need be – not milk or bread, neither are good for them) but having deposited my camera gear in the house I returned to see it disappearing into some nearby bushes for cover obviously to recover from a close encounter of the photographic kind.



  1. Thanks for letting me camp out in your blog today. As always, I had a great time and tried to leave my campsite as clean as when I arrived.

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