With the remaining curlews very clearly down on their eggs, now is a key moment to drive on the fox and crow control programme. There was a very quiet wailing from the rushes last night where one of the pairs is well set, and a second pair is underway two hundred yards further over the brow of the hill. The cocks fly in careful, whooping loops around their territories at first light, fluttering up to stall and glide in a great undulating laps while the frost melts below them and the larks tumble and stream.
My snares are in action and the larsens have been ticking over recently after a lull for a few days. These two broods are still working on their first clutch, and I’m very keen that they should see some success in 2015 after several consecutive years of failure. Unfortunately, one of the clearest runs in the field for a snare is occasionally used by badgers from the sett at the bottom of the hill, so I can’t snare there. Amidst careful control and heaps of hard work, time and effort controlling some predators, the curlews’ only protection from badgers (and ravens) is their cunning and my crossed fingers.
The Understanding Predation project is now underway, and I spent forty five minutes filling in a survey return a few days ago. It’s well worth filling one in yourself if you get the time, although ironically it is taking place during one of the busiest pest control periods of the year.