My favourite blackcock has been behaving very strangely recently. Looking back at last year’s blog entries from February, I see that by the beginning of March, he was getting on for full lek. This year, he is being incredibly bashful and is only lekking under thick cover. The only time I’ve found him out in the open was when the clouds were down and the visibility was less than thirty yards. I also hear that he is lekking after dark, between ten and eleven o’clock at night. I need to get up there this evening to hear it for myself, but it seems like something very strange has been going on. Perhaps he has been spooked by something and has the sense to withhold his full lekking display.
As far as an explanation goes for what it was that spooked him, the pup and I pushed a hen goshawk out of the windbreak behind the farmhouse this morning. It was thick fog, but there was no mistaking that terrifying shape in the mist – something like a sparrowhawk on steroids. The pup woofed at it as it swept away, and I agreed with her sentiments entirely.