A Blackcock Dusk

At full flight in a strong wind

“At full flight in a strong wind”

Well worth noting that during a walk this evening, I found and flushed the new blackcock again up on the rough ground. The wind was strong enough for the dog to air-scent him, and she froze into a classic pointer’s posture with the shining grass rippling all around. When the bird broke into the freezing breeze, there can hardly have been a finer sight from Caithness to Cornwall: a blackcock in full sail against a peachy orange sunset and the rugged mounds of Lamachan and Curleywee behind. With no electric light or glow visible within 360 degrees, I could have been watching that same spectacle at any time in the last 500 years.

The black shape pounded off into the gloom, whistling downwind like a bullet as the first stars came out. My eyes were streaming and my sinuses throbbed so much that I felt dizzy, but again I could hardly keep from laughing. I followed the dog down to where he had been lying up, then turned for home before my face fell off with cold. This new bird was obviously not just passing through, and the boost of optimism that arrived with him is worth its weight in gold.

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