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Thursday, 25 June 2015

A Recent Deer Stalking and Wildlife Watching Trip

Bank Holiday Monday means no regular work, just shed loads of non-routine tasks which are likely to be even tougher than my day job!

I was right, at 03-30, even my body groans when the alarm goes off but 30 minutes later I’m cursing my decision not to have set it for 03-00. Everything was neatly laid out where I could get it without waking the whole household  although the gun cupboard door does need some oil to make that a little quieter. 

I’m on my way by 04-00, knowing for sure that there will be sufficient light to shoot way before I get to the farm. Not far down the very quiet and bumpy fen road, a Hare came spinning out from under a car, obviously dead but not smashed to bits so that has to go in the carcass tray before I proceed, the loins and haunches were in good shape and will make a respectable meal for 4 and what is left over will bait the camera trap to see how many foxes we have in the locality.

On reaching the farm, I eased the door open quietly to realise I had wandered inadvertently in to a Cuckoo convention, I could here 6 to 10 of them competing with each other at all ranges from 100 yards away to about a mile I should think, the sound is a quintessentially British Spring sound but I’m not that excited about it as each one spells disaster for multiple nests full of Reed Warblers or similar host birds. It’s just not right to have children and abandon them for someone else to raise, especially when it means certain death for the offspring of the host bird, just not on…..listen up Cuckoos!

I set off on the lookout for Muntjac or a Roe Buck, everything else being out of season but of course I saw neither of the 2 species I really wanted but did see a Roe Doe and a lovely Chinese Water Deer Buck which I staked from about 600 yards down to 10, it was so close that I even filmed it on my phone, which is not noted for film quality or range but does demonstrate that if you can use the wind direction and cover to disguise your approach and presence, you can get pretty close to dinner, I mean wildlife.

The rest of my outing I spend walking, watching, listening and noting what I saw and where ready for the change in season. Yellow Hammers, Reed Buntings, Reed Warblers, Linnets, White Throats, Buzzard and Kestrel, Jays and a lot of live Hares, to name but a few of my companions on this beautiful morning. I know where there are a whole lot of plums to harvest much later in the year, I know where the Elder Flowers will come from for Cordial making, I saw the May Blossom blowing in the wind like confetti and filling up the wheel ruts and cleat marks. 

Go on, get out there, what else is there to do at 3-30 on a summers morning?


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