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A Lay-by Blackcock

A welcome bystander
A welcome bystander

After another excellent day volunteering with the Galloway Fisheries Trust to clear sitka spruce scrub from the banks of the Little Water of Fleet on Friday, I headed home on the pretty route through black grouse country as the sun started to set. Although mildly disappointed not to see the short eared owls again, I got some close up views of a ringtail hen harrier and then a stunning blackcock right in the lay-by where I had to pull over to let another car pass. I actually said “surely not!” to myself as I pulled over and found the bird just a few feet away from the bumper, assuming that the black shape was really just a piece of rubbish or plastic. Even when he ran back up the verge with an expression of disgust, he was still close enough for a picture (see above) before he passed into some long grass and started to feed.

The black grouse lek bonanza is approaching, and things are starting to get exciting.

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