Wet weather and wild birds
The weather is a favourite topic of conversation for us Brits, in particular at this time of year. Putting an issue of Fieldsports Magazine together has its moments, but they pale into insignificance when compared to our poor game birds attempting to nest in some of the wettest conditions on record. But they manage it.
GWCT's Rotherfield gamekeeper Malcolm Brockless saw his first brood of pheasants on Friday, May 12. "There were about 10 or 11 of them," he told me, "all hatched on the first sunny day for weeks. She made it through 23 rainy days, in which April saw eight inches of water. The wettest April on record."
Let us hope for a better June, when the partridge hatch takes place.
In the north there were good spring grouse counts, and one can only hope that they have the same tenacity as Malcolm's Hampshire pheasant.
Meanwhile in the Peak District, it’s not such positive news. We received a press release from the RSPB which said that a smashed goshawk nest had been discovered.
There was an unpleasant inference that gamekeepers were to blame.
Ridiculous. For starters they wouldn't do such a thing - even one renegade keeper wouldn't leave the evidence out in the open. The remarkable coincidence is that the shooting leases are up for renewal. It would be easy to draw a very unsatisfactory conclusion.
I am about to shoot my second charity event of the 'summer'. My first was simulated game run last week by Really Wild at Belvoir Castle. Alas my performance did not match up to the occasion - it was brilliantly done though, and raised a heap of money for the two nominated charities. Photographs will appear in the Summer issue of Fieldsports. In the meantime I am in need of serious practice!