Slim Pickings

Not much in the way of blackgame

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted about black grouse on the Chayne, and there is quite a simple reason why – I haven’t seen much worth talking about. There have been a few greyhens going about, but with the exception of the small brood of four which I saw in August, things are very quiet. That’s not to say that they’re not still out there, and everytime I head out on foot through the rushes (where I’d usually find them at this time of year, feeding on rush seeds) I have an eye peeled for flashing black and white stripes against the rusty red molinia grass.

In the meantime, work continues with a single minded stubbornness to make the Chayne more amenable to black grouse – these birds are the main purpose of everything I do on the hill, and while things are very quiet at the moment, that’s not to say that I’m not still building them into my plans and concentrating the future management of the hill in their direction.

This picture of my favourite blackcock (above) was taken on the dyke behind the hayfield last spring (about March-ish 2011). I had a grand morning that morning, stalking through the grass to photograph him and his greyhens in the frost. There are birds out on the back of the hill, but none of them have ever been so easy to watch, photograph or get close to. I still miss this guy now that he’s packed up in a bag in my freezer instead of causing mayhem in the farmyard, but he was the start of all of this, and there’s no going back now.

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