A quick turn around the Chayne with the rifle at first light this morning provided one of the most spectacular, dizzying, almost life-affirming engagements with nature that I can ever remember. More to come in due course, but lying out in the dew above an astonishing “cloud inversion” at dawn this morning, I was able to turn my binoculars from a glossy blue blackcock with his tail at full sail to a trip of fifteen golden plover hunting through the grass. And from there, a few degrees further to a hunting ringtail harrier and finally to the wondrous, hackle-raising display flight of a cock curlew around and around his territory, whooping quietly to himself as he went. Skylarks and pipits were bursting with song and snipe drummed constantly as the coastal Galloway lowlands were smoothed over by cloud as pure and perfect as plaster, stretching out in an unbroken floor all the way to the Lake District, which pierced the uniformity with blue, jagged shapes on the horizon.
It is easy to get carried away with hyperbole and over-egg the picture, but as the larks tumbled down around me like ash from a fire, I was as close to paradise as I could be.
Happy Easter to all Working for Grouse readers –