As June progresses, so too does the blackcock’s moult. I found an immaculate half black, half white secondary feather blowing about on the moss the other day, and the birds themselves are looking more and more tatty as the days go by. As July approaches, these birds will vanish altogether into the ragged robin. Their tails will fall out and their wing feathers will moult away, leaving them in a temporary “eclipse” plumage rather like a duck. I would not expect to see any blackcock on the hill between the middle of July and the end of August, so while the displays are still trickling on, I must make the most of them.