Smell Fox and The Sky in his Pyjamas

Smell Fox is another name for the Wood Anemone and we will have more of them later, also a smelly Fox. First let me show you Fizz’s latest masterpiece.

The Sky in his PyjamasShe called this, “The Sky in his Pyjamas” and it was taken at dawn yesterday.

This is a video of a smelly Fox.

We have finished our Wild Boar hunt having got what we went after.

We picked up the camera yesterday with seventy five videos on the card and I really expected seventy five videos of a Fox eating until it popped but no…

We had about fifteen videos of the Fallow Deer.

Then we got this.

Let me just tell you what you are going to see, it is not very clear. If you are very quick you may see two Deer running in front of the Boar and triggering the camera, they are only in shot for about a second, then three female Boar walk through the wood in front of the camera. They don’t come into the light unfortunately but it is clear to me that they are Boar.

Why stop there? Well we haven’t exactly stopped, there is good reason to go back and I will tell you about that in a minute, we are just taking a break.

These animals are not safe!

I won’t endanger an animal for the sake of a photograph. There are not a lot of Wild Boar around here, they are being shot and that shooting is causing them to disperse and try and find safe places to live but it is a precarious existence.

Boar meat fetches about £6.50 a kilo (unbutchered) and about 70% of a Boar is meat. The average weight of a female is between 80 -120 kilos. To a shooter a little one (50 kg) is worth about £200. Some people are very, very keen to learn the locations of these animals.

There are no laws to protect these animals. With the landowners permission and the relevant gun licence anyone can shoot any boar at any time with anything they can lay their hands on. They are not safe.

We will go back because these animals will give birth in the spring, between them they could have twenty hoglets. They will live in a group called a sounder and the mothers can suckle each others young. If anything happens to one mother the others will take care of her hoglets. Infant mortality is about 50% in the first month so many of the little ones won’t make it but those that do will stay with the group for at least four months maybe the whole year. Despite any garbage that you may read to the contrary, Wild Boar have just one litter a year.

It would be nice to see some of this, don’t you think?

Enough Boar hunting for now, what about the pesky Sheep.

The Sheep are back in the fields but I don’t know for how long. We found two stuck in the hedge this morning.

Stuck SheepFizz found herself stuck in the hedge while I went to free the sheep…

Stuck Fizzand the sheep took off carrying half of the hedge with them.

Freed Stuck SheepWe are going to have to go and catch this Sheep and clean it up a bit, it looks camouflaged.

Tangled SheepAfter a couple of hours of chasing Sheep around the field, I remembered that I had stuck Fizz in the hedge and I went back and got her. She was none the worse for it.

Unstuck FizzSo, Smell Fox, the Wood Anemone flower doesn’t have any noticeable scent but the leaves smell musty, like a Fox.

Anemone nemorosa, The Wood Anemone

Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)Greek legend has it that Anemos (The God of Wind) sent Anemones in the springtime to tell of his coming. An old name for this flower is Windflower, Pliny the Elder (Roman author of Naturalis Historia) wrote that “The flowers do not open unless the wind blows.” He was wrong. The flowers do not open unless the sun shines.

Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa) Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)   Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)   Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa) The Wood Anemone is an early spring flower. It usually flowers in March and lasts until the Bluebells are ready to flower in April.

The little wood that I used to own was both a Bluebell wood and an Anemone wood. The flowers grew through each other and in March the forest floor was white with little to show of the Bluebell display that was soon to follow.

Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)The Wood Anemone is an animated flower, it closes at night.

Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)It opens in the morning when it feels the warmth and then it twists and turns throughout the day to follow the sun. It is a wonderful thing to spend a day in such a wood watching the movement of the flowers.

Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)

Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)

Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)

Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)The flower has no petals, it generally has six or seven, white sepals but sometimes as many as ten. It has multiple stamens.

Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)The leaves are divided into three deeply lobed and toothed leaflets.

Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)Nectar: You will read on a lot of web sites that the Wood Anemone does not produce nectar when in fact it does. The reason for this confusion is simply because it was only proven in 2013 when scientists published a paper in the Journal, “Organisms Diversity and Evolution” (September 2013) They observed the Large Bee Fly (Bombylius major) nectaring on Anemone nemorosa and discovered that the flower does indeed have nectaries deep within the corolla. The large Bee Fly has a very long tongue.

Many websites will not have updated that information and so confusion reigns on the internet, as always. Anyway nothing has changed if you have a short tongue.

Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)Pollination and seed production are not essential to the Wood Anemone, in fact, I read that most of the seed produced is sterile. The plant spreads from it’s roots (rhizomes). Unlike the Bluebell it can spread very rapidly to colonise a wood.

Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)

Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa) Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)   Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)   Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa) Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)Taxonomy:

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Ranunculales

Family: Ranunculaceae

Genus: Anemone

Species: Anemone nemorosa

Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)Wildflowers in winter.

58 thoughts on “Smell Fox and The Sky in his Pyjamas”

    1. Thank you Sarasin 🙂 The short answer to why there are no laws protecting them is that there are not enough of them. So far the government has tried to pretend that they don’t exist. DEFRA the governmental department that should be responsible for them has just repeatedly said that they are nothing to do with them and management and control is the responsibility of local authorities.
      The Boar are not really causing any problems at the moment because there are not that many of them but their numbers will increase and they will become more of a problem in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Congratulations on getting your boar video! The boar’s safety hasn’t been made any more secure by the news of the man being killed by one yesterday. People forget that these are large wild animals and should be respected as such. I expect you were quite tired after all that sheep chasing! I love finding woods full of wood anemones. One of my earliest memories (I was about 4 years old) is seeing one near the coast somewhere in Sussex in late winter. Really magical! We then went to the beach and froze and my brother fell in the sea and had to be wrapped up in our coats.


    1. Thank you Clare 🙂 That comment came as a shock as I hadn’t seen that story. A Wild Boar has caused a fatal collision when it strayed onto the M4 motorway. That is a terrible accident but obviously the animal had no intention of hurting anybody. Still I have little doubt that this story will be brought up as further justification for the continued culling of the animals here in the Dean. It is precisely because the Forestry Commission are driving them out of the forest that they are wandering around our villages and roads. They shoot guns at them in the dark and the Boar run away from the loud noise. It is madness.

      Glad that you liked the Wood Anemones. I love finding woods full of them. When I was a child I remember being taken to Primrose woods like that but I have no idea where to find such a thing nowadays.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do apologise, Colin. In reading what I wrote again I realise I had been just as provocative in what I said as the reporter in the newspaper I had read. I had a lot of things I had wanted to say going on in my head while I typed and didn’t say the right things and said the wrong! I had wanted to say that re-introducing wild boar is bound to cause some new problems at some stage. Many road accidents are caused by deer every year but they don’t have the bad press that boar do.


    2. Thanks Clare 🙂 No problem. I admit though that I read that comment as, “A Wild Boar has attacked somebody.” There have been attacks on people in countries where there are many more Boar but I don’t know anything about the circumstances and can only comment on my own experiences. Any wounded or trapped or frightened animal is potentially dangerous. One day somebody will get hurt by a Boar but my experience is of shy and secretive animals who do their very best to avoid us and stay out of trouble.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful! I love wood anemones. I can’t wait for the first spring flowers. Great videos. Are you worried about wild boar attacking you? Or is that an urban myth? Please tell Fizz I like her photo and her title for it!


    1. Thank you Jo 🙂 I am not worried of being attacked. Nobody has been attacked or hurt by a Boar since their reintroduction about twenty years ago and I always think, what are the chances that I will be the first one?

      I used to own a small amenity wood in East Sussex and I had Wild Boar there. For about ten years I slept out there at every chance (most weekends) I have been completely surrounded by them in the middle of the night as I slept on the forest floor and I have had numerous face to face encounters. I have never seen them behave in any way aggressively toward me.

      Dogs are a different matter. The sows will protect their piglets and a Dog is no match for a Boar. A few dogs have been killed and quite a number injured. I have to be very careful with Fizz, she would chase them just like she would run after sheep. Don’t worry I am very careful 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s interesting! Thank you for explaining that. I had got the impression that they were quite aggressive. Fizz is fearless! I salute her.


    1. Thank you RR 🙂 I totally agree. It is good to see them in the forest and they should be allowed to live there. DEFRA came down to my wood in East Sussex with their CSL (Central Science Laboratory) and all sorts of scientists. They were studying the effect of Wild Boar on biodiversity. Catching insects in little traps and counting flowers, I never did see the results but I believe that Boar do improve diversity in the forest.


  3. Hello, I am only just recently subscribed to your blog and have been really enjoying your latest posts . They are both beautiful as well as entertaining. I look forward to reading any of your future offerings and love that you do not let winter stop you from venturing forth and discovering the beauty that exists in all seasons. Did you manage to get the thorny bits of hedge removed from the sheep?! Thank you for sharing your walks and your part of the planet.


    1. Hello Val and thank you for your comment 🙂 I have to venture out in all seasons and weather because my neighbour’s pesky Dog believes that Dogs need walking every day 🙂 (I am sure that she has just made that up) We didn’t get all the Sheep and we will have to bring them in again soon but they are okay for now.


  4. I look forward to your posts so very much. I’m always happy to see your beautiful animals and the lovely flowers, berries and plants. The sheep were adorable and I hope someone got the branches off of them. Fizz is always adorable and the flowers were so lovely, Thank you for educating me and making the day happy.


    1. Thank you Gigi 🙂 I am so glad that you enjoy the blog. The Sheep are driving me nuts. I really worry about them and have to keep going out and checking them. The stupid, stupid animals just won’t keep out of the brambles. I can’t wait to see them shorn 🙂 Fizz likes checking on the Sheep 🙂


  5. Two points today Colin,
    1 What is the relaionshipr between wild boar and domestic pigs. In Aust we have thousands of feral pigs that do a huge amount of damage. It’s all about introducing a species that pushes the delicate balance off the level.
    2 I just noticed that the fox in particular and then the deer seem to be looking directly at the camera. I suppose it make a bit of noise when it is running,


    1. Thanks John 🙂 Until the eighteenth century domestic pigs in the UK were European Wild Boar or their direct descendants. Then we started to introduced different breeds of pig from China and Asia and the domestic pig was born. The Wild Boar living in the UK are pure European Wild Boar (Sus scrofa). Having said that there is no genetic test and there is no standard Wild Boar profile because there are many different sub species of Sus scrofa that have never been genetically classified. Purity is currently judged by the animals shape and appearance. If it looks like a Wild Boar, acts like a Wild Boar and fills the ecological niche of a Wild Boar then it is a Wild Boar.

      Generally speaking in Europe we have Wild Boar, In Australia you have Feral Pigs and in the US they are hybrids of the two species.

      Wild Boar will mate with domestic pigs and any Wild Boar will probably have some domestic pig DNA in it’s make up. This has always been the case since the arrival of domestic pigs. It only becomes a problem if our Wild Boar start developing curly tails, floppy ears and multi coloured coats.

      I have looked at Wild Boar populations around the world over the last decade and I am well aware of the Feral Pig problems in Australia. I think that Europe presents a better model of what to expect here, simply because in Australia you seem to have a lot of extremes, not just with invasive species like the pig, cat, fox, rabbit etc but also kangaroos, dingoes, flying fox. To an outsider everything seems to be out of control as a very delicate ecological balance has been disrupted.

      I am tentatively in favour of Wild Boar control here at least until we can figure out the implications but any such options have been taken out of our hands by the actions of the Forestry Commission. I think that the Boar should have been contained in the forest but their reaction has been, “Well, they are not staying here!” and they have driven them out into the surrounding countryside. They are now spread county wide, they have even reached Wales. People won’t start to notice them for a few more years but they will breed and they are everywhere now. The decision that they should be dispersed around the country has been made for us by a bunch of idiots. (Hopefully it was the right thing to do, I am not sure)


    2. And the quick answer is…. The camera has a little bank of infra red lights for night time filming, they omit a red glow that the animals can see, that is probably what they are looking at. Sometimes I do get a certain amount of engine noise on videos and I don’t think that the camera is completely silent 🙂


  6. Sorry point 3.
    When you go out to the sheep take a pair of pliers. I noticed that the sheep were facing you, so straddle the sheep around the neck and put her in a headlock and then she will stay fairly calm while you pull the brambles from her wool using the pliers. I remember you mentionrd you have a bit of a crook leg so ignore all advice if you must.


    1. Thank you again John 🙂 I have got my own pliers (I have been issued them) I will certainly have a go at getting one in a headlock. Yesterdays Sheep, the one with all the bramble on her, pulled herself free before I could reach her, hence all of the mess. She probably required a rugby tackle and then the headlock 🙂


  7. Colin
    When I looked at the title I thought I was in for a 60’s song but something like it has already been done. Great post and I am enjoying it all. I will get to the journal on your part of England as it is one of my favourites. I do use a couple of my photos from this region in my photography workshops. Maybe it was the weather when I was there in 2011. You have also made me reconsider the things I should be looking at when I go for a walk in my part of the world. I usually photograph the big landscapes and ignore the small stuff. Maybe this should change.


    1. Thank you Len 🙂 I really like your journals and look forward to seeing my own patch through your eyes. It is always good to notice the little things but then we have very different styles, I don’t travel much and have the world at my feet whereas you travel the world and perhaps need to show a more general picture. Getting as close as I do to the whole world would be a bit of a challenge.


  8. We have wild boar here in HK. They have been in our garden eating the vegetables. Colin is right that they are generally not aggressive unless you have dogs or you get between a sow and her offspring. I have seen dogs with very nasty wounds. We just leave them in peace. Very occasionally they stray out of the woods and get stuck in storm drains (nullahs). The AFCD tries to catch and release them. They are also hunted here, often by people with guns they shouldn’t have. Its a tough life being a boar. As a child I saw wood anenome all the time but what I remember most is the smell of what we knew as wild garlic. That was very distinctive. Bluebells used to be abundant in Queen’s Wood in Herefordshire and my mother loved to walk there. I hope they are still there.


  9. The video of the boar is exciting – let’s hope they stay out of the hunter’s gunsights.
    Love your photos of anemones carpeting the wood. What beauty that must be to behold.
    So Fizz is adding ‘sheepdog’ to her resume’ now? 😉


    1. Thank you Eliza 🙂 I just wish that I had one of those machines that could capture not just the picture but the scent and the coolness, the stillness of the forest and the sound of the birds. Hurry up inventors 🙂


      1. Now that would be a great invention! I am so happy that the real thing is so close to me right outside my door. Others are not so fortunate and they would love such an invention. It would soothe the ills of the world most definitely!


  10. What amazing videos! And how special to get footage of the wild boar. They are gorgeous creatures. It would be nice if people would learn to respect them and just let them exist, but it would be nice if people would allow that for a lot of species.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jenny 🙂 It would be especially nice if people understood that like everything else in nature, they are there for a reason and that we need them. There is a balance and we can’t just go picking and choosing what bits we want and what bits we can get rid of because they don’t seem to be doing anything special.


    1. Thank you Dorne 🙂 You require a license to shoot Deer at night, there is a min calibre for the gun used of .240 inches (too small) and most of all there is a close season. None of this applies to Boar. Our local paper recently ran a story on the front page quoting a local councillor who argued that there was no reason for a close season on Boar as they can have four litters a year and there was never an appropriate time for a close season. That is despicable and absolutely untrue. It is possible to produce multiple litters from domestic pigs by injecting them full of hormones, force feeding them and taking their piglets away from them. The Boar don’t get any of that treatment. They don’t get enough food to breed more than once a year and once born the young stay with their mother for the rest of the year. People tell lies to get other people on their side and newspapers repeat lies. That is just the way that it is. I disapprove and think that newspapers should only print the truth 😀 😀 😀


  11. I’m impressed by your “camera trap” images. I copy-edited a book on the use of camera trapping in wildlife studies last year (, and it was a lot more complicated than I imagined. At least on private property you don’t have problems with human interference or photographing embarassing human activities (unless you count chasing balls for Fizz). What equipment are you using?


    1. Thanks Joy 🙂 I am currently using a Bushnell Trophy Cam (8MP) I have had this one for about two years. In about thirteen years of using trail cams I have had two stolen and three that have just become obsolete and too old to bother with. I don’t think that is a bad record and I am prepared to accept the occasional loss, it is usually my fault anyway. I have an expensive security case but often don’t use it because it makes accessing the camera awkward. It can be complicated to set the camera, there are a number of common sense things that have to be learned and it is difficult to estimate how strong to set the infra red lights because you have to guess how dark the night will be. I think that trail cams are the best way to survey local wildlife just because there are no people present and you can see what is really going on. In the Forest here they count the number of Boar by driving trucks along pre-set routes and counting the animals with a thermal imaging camera. The Boar can hear the trucks coming and it is very difficult to tell a Boar from a Deer when most of it’s signature is hidden by undergrowth. The figures are widely inaccurate and it is freely admitted that nobody really knows and it is all guess work. Trail cams would do the job easily.


  12. Since you are now, unofficially at least, my hero, when I included a colony of Barnacles in my photo-gallery today, I even included the classification for the teeny little animal. Unfortunately, I was unable to do the same for the seaweed that I also included in the gallery as there are just too many different types, with many of them looking almost identical to an amateur such as myself. On the bright side, until I started following your adventures with Fizz, it would never have occurred to me that barnacles were animals. So that’s an improvement. “By George, you have brought education to the heathen!” (meaning me). Thanks a lot.


    1. Thank you David 🙂 That is all good to hear, I am really glad that you are enjoying the blog. You said before that our climates seemed very similar and just looking at your pictures that does seem to be the case. Fascinating stuff about Barnacles, I didn’t know that you could eat them. Thank you 🙂


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