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Monday, 3 August 2015

From The Highseat

The evening was near perfect, scattered thundery showers receding in to the distance and enough gaps between wet areas to allow the combines to be thundering around the cereal fields, most of the rape having been gathered in already. 

Forget Orange Wednesday, try Orange, Pink and Crimson Thursday! The warm sunshine had rabbits and hares grazing and warming themselves in the lowering sun. Some of the smaller game had already found it's way in to the back of the car before I reached my drop off point and the evening had the makings of something special. In the low sun, the billions of cobwebs joining up the tips of the wheat ears and even the tops of the rape stubble, billowed and waved in the breeze like one giant silk sheet covering the whole field, it was a magnificent spectacle, very hard to capture on a camera but so memorable that it brings a smile to my face every time I see it.

A stealthy walk to my high seat took longer than a 500 yard walk should have but I wasn't in a big rush and the distraction of owls, yellow hammers and reed buntings always slows me down. I left my sticks at the bottom of the steps and settled in to my seat just 25 yards from the Northern edge of Riddy Wood. There was plenty of bird song and things to see as I sat near motionless on the hard seat, note to self, bring a piece of carry mat for padding next trip! 

The sun was now low on the horizon and turned the wheat from gold to pink. I could hear movement off to my right but it was very fleeting and slow, I swivelled slightly in my seat so that I was facing slightly to my right and then like magic, a lovely little Roe Doe appeared just 9 yards from my seat, she stood sniffing the air and licking her lips before moving cautiously left until she was right in front of me, moving in silent slow motion, I moved my phone in to position so that I could get some pictures. 

Now I can hear more motion off to my right, where the doe came from, the buck following her out maybe? No! two magnificent little fawns, the spots of the new born deer faded to near invisibility, this is a rare and magnificent sight at this range, they look up at me and know something isn't right but I'm motionless and clearly pose no threat.

They move into the crop and I can hear the munching and pop of them pulling ripe ears of wheat from the wheat stalks. I watch, mesmerised by this little family outing and feel glad that phones have cameras of reasonable quality as I'm sure that I would never have managed to bring a bigger camera into action.

I decide to test their reaction to a deer call and try to capture the results on a video, well, it certainly got a reaction! See the video, they all focused immediately on the short bursts on the call and when I gave a longer blast, the Doe became quite agitated and inquisitive as to what was in distress. I had messed up their evening quite sufficiently by this time and so fell silent just to watch them as they moved away and eventually out of site. That was the best 30 minutes in the field that I have spent in ages and allowed myself a minute or two to review the pictures and little movie to check quality and it was OK, better than OK in fact, I was delighted with the result.

Light was now fading so I thought I'd try my luck at calling something else, so I started to 'squeak' intermittently to see if I could attract the attention of a fox. To cut a long story short, I was looking right after hearing some movement there but too late, I then heard some on my immediate left and looked to see a scruffy fox standing in exactly the place that the Roe doe had stood just 20 minutes earlier. I wasn't quite slow motion enough to bring the rifle to bare without alerting him to danger and he left the scene, still looking a little unsure as to exactly what the risk was and as I squeaked a little harder, he came back for a quick look from another angle before he left the scene permanently.

So with bad light threatening to stop play, I shot a big old buck hare for the pot and started the slow walk back to the pick up point, thoroughly elated by an action packed evening which would be very difficult to equal, very difficult indeed. This is rapidly becoming my favourite high seat, I never leave it disappointed and look forward to the next visit very much.


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