After a few days on the Isle of Man (of which more anon) and a stag night in Liverpool (which is not for public consumption), I blew away the cobwebs with a brisk walk up around the hill yesterday afternoon in the sunshine. There was a grand big fox mousing in the white grass above the old farm steading, and I marked him down with the binoculars at five hundred yards. Not having the rifle with me, I resolved to head out and make his acquaintance later in the week.
On the way back to the car, I disturbed the first curlew of 2015 on the rough grass above the sheds. It was a cock bird, and I watched as he looped right around the bog on his own in the wind, calling twice and landing on a knowe in the rushes. Cocks return to their breeding grounds a few days before the hens, and I hope that he will soon have some company in the long grass.
As I’ve written before on this blog, the odds are set against breeding curlews on the Chayne. I’m delighted at this sign of Spring, but it is a timely reminder that crows and foxes need to be gathered up or disrupted as much as possible over the coming month. I had a vixen last week carrying five cubs no more than an inch long, but a friend on some neighbouring ground has found one just a fortnight off whelping. Now is the time to get stuck in.