In the thick of it

The view from my bedroom window this morning - grouse country, Galloway style

Just thought it was worth including this picture which I took this morning from my bedroom window, looking across the loch to the Bogrie Hill. I’m thrilled to bits to finally be living within earshot of grouse, particularly in an area with reasonable heather coverage. The Chayne is a white hill, with the majority of the heather hidden in the thick overgrowth of grass and moss. There is enough heather to support red grouse, but a total lack of mature heather coverage leaves chicks painfully vulnerable and exposed to predators. The Bogrie (pictured) has a better heather coverage, and consequently there are quite a few red grouse up on the heights.

Encroaching bracken is starting to be a major problem on the lower slopes, but the presence of willow and rowan scrub make a great habitat for blackcock. Most hills in Galloway are now overgrazed or planted with sitka spruce trees, so it’s perfect for me to be living in a spot that, aside from the bracken, hasn’t changed much in the past century. It is the sort of hillside which once made Galloway famous as a sporting destination – a place where red grouse never really caught on but where sportsmen travelled from across Europe in search of blackgame.

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