Purple Progress

Heather is coming on strong in the enclosure

Further to the post on asphodel a fortnight ago, it’s worth noticing how fantastically well the heather has done in the stockproof enclosure this year. I’ve been following the progress of the ling shoots since February last year, when they were looking decidedly weak and on the back foot. Since their protection from grazing, they have raced out of the ground and many now stand almost seven inches tall. New plants have come up from seed, as well as old plants which have regenerated from stubby wooden pegs.

It’s great to see such progress, and particularly satisfying that you can now see a distinct pink tinge to the enclosure from several hundred yards away. Heading up to photograph it on Monday, I flushed a familiar shape from the rushes and was delighted to see my favourite blackcock coming out of the moult. Like last year, he had no tail and was missing several feathers on his head and neck, but he flew strongly on with his characteristic arrogance.

If anything, he seems to get blacker each year and as he enters his third autumn, the glossy blue is even more pronounced than ever before.

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