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A Caper Encounter

Sparring caper cocks on Deeside - image courtesy of Harry Scott.
Sparring caper cocks on Deeside – image courtesy of Harry Scott.

Any excuse to publish this picture, which was taken by an automatic trail camera at Finzean Estate this spring. Capercaillie have always been in the background of my investigations into black grouse conservation, and having spent a morning amongst them on Deeside last week, my interest is seriously piqued.

Finzean won the Heather Trust and GWCT’s Golden Plover Award in 2014, owing in part to their dedicated conservation work which is directed towards capercaillie, and it presented a fascinating new angle to our research into heather cutting to find how this management technique has been geared towards caper conservation in the ancient pine forests above Deeside. Fortunately, the ongoing nature of the project will mean that I will have to return, and there are a few more caper sites on the list for a visit in the near future.

Much more to come on this subject as the autumn comes on, and a great deal more to write up on capercaillie in the meantime. Working For Grouse gets harder and harder to keep up the deeper into the subject I go, and so much material now falls by the wayside that it is less of a blog and more of a backlog – I simply don’t have time to write as much as I’d like, but it is being kept for a rainy day in the form of a single Word document which now groans and wheezes at the 95,000 word mark after just over three months. I use this to cram all notes and observations, then will rake back through it when I get the chance.

In the meantime, thanks to all readers for their continued support and interest – and if you haven’t done already, get in touch. The reason this blog has become so cumbersome and huge is largely thanks to the people I’ve met since I’ve been working on it, and more ideas and adventures come in every day in some shape or form. The learning curve is extremely steep, but it gets more and more fun as the months go by.

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