More photos from the hill-top trail camera reveal that the early-rising grouse I photographed last month were not a one-off. Small groups of grouse continue to visit between 4:30 and 5:30 in the morning, although very infrequently. Grouse grit is not needed so much in the summer when the vegetation is lush and easily digested, and they can take ten times more in the winter when they need to grind out every scrap of goodness from the heather. It will be interesting to keep this camera running for a few months to see if the grouse become more reliable in their grit usage as autumn comes on. In the meantime, I need to top up several of the most popular grit piles as they appear to be running low.
It’s also been fun to note the almost metronomic regularity with which this roe buck (below) does his rounds on the hill. His timetable will have been taken up a level with the advent of the rut, but I am entertained by dozens of photographs of him passing and re-passing the same route from late July and into early August. The deer on this tough, peaty hill don’t produce very good antlers, and while he probably wouldn’t excite most stalkers, he is probably as good an animal as we could hope to find on our ground. Mature roe like this usually keep their heads well down in daylight hours, so it’s a sign of his hormones that he should be “walking abroad” at midday.