I’ve been meaning to get out early to see what the crows are doing in order to inform my trapping strategy over the next few weeks, but there comes a stage when early is just late. When I arrived on the hill at 3:20am this morning, it was without having slept, buoyed only by coffee, cigarettes and irrational enthusiasm.
As it was, there was plenty to see. I never regret an early start at this time of year, and I made all kinds of discoveries which might otherwise have lain in perpetual obscurity. Amidst stacks of good material and info which may emerge on this blog over the next few days, I crawled to within fifteen yards of a lekking blackcock, and if I had had my camera, it would have been one of the best photographs I have ever taken.
He was displaying on the viewpoint I had planned to occupy for the duration of the dawn, so I had to sneak in around him to get the views I needed of the young forestry where a pair of crows has been loitering. It turned out that he squalled and bustled in the half-dark a few feet away as I lay spying the wood as the dew (and then the rain) settled.