A Suspicious Lull

Nothing to do but take photographs… a skylark on the Chayne

The last week has been really very quiet up on the hill, particularly in terms of vermin. I haven’t caught a crow, stoat or weasel in a few days, and there have been no signs of any fox activity. That’s not to say that the buggers aren’t still out there –

Having accounted for the tricky crow which wouldn’t come into my trap last week, another seems to have learnt to avoid even the larsen mate, and it just sits on a dyke a few yards away from the traps without any promise of comittment. I’ll try and tumble him off the stones with the rifle, but by comparison to the last month, these last few days have been very slow moving for the larsen traps.

I had a moment of excitement when I thought I saw a stoat’s tail sticking out of one of my trap tunnels, but was surprised to see that it was the tail of a hen wheatear. I pulled the bird out of the tunnel to find that she was missing her head from the bottom beak upwards. It was clearly the handiwork of a weasel, and he had pulled the dead wheatear into the “safety” of my tunnel to munch up her skull in peace and quiet. If he had moved three quarters of an inch further into the tunnel, the trap would have had him. As it was, he had his little meal and made off without even firing the trap. I put the remains of the wheatear on the far side of the trap so that if the little blighter wants to come back for seconds, he’ll have one of Mr. Fenn’s finest after him.

I was confident that this would work, but 48 hours later, it seems like it won’t. I have found dead pipits and larks before which have been killed by weasels. The little savages seem to eat out the brain from the back of the neck, then just waste the rest of the bird and let it rot. I have sometimes caught them returning to their kills, but it seems that, at this time of year anyway, food is so abundant that you can eat what you want and throw away the rest.




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