Monday, 22 August 2011


Have you heard the old chestnut:-

"What's the most important invention in human history?"

"The Venetian Blind- without which it would be curtains for us all."

Well, I'm afraid the midge net has now taken the crown. We were driving grouse today and although we were having a great day, the last two drives were blighted by midges. It was a warm, overcast day and the light breeze dropped at about 3pm. By 3.15 most of the entourage would have sold their granny for a midge net. I did have a spare in the rover but a) it was parked 500ft down the hill from us and b) what would I do with someone elses nan?

We finished the day with a bag of 198.5 brace. It would have been nice to have made the 200 and I dare say if we'd dallied longer we would have managed to pick them. But I reckon hamstringing would have been the only way you'd have persuaded me to dally.

By the way, the more observant of you might have noticed the pic of me with an exotic looking bird on my arm. Unfortunately it's a curlew.

I came across it on the last grouse drive on Friday. I could see it was a juvenile but I thought it was well enough grown that it should be flying. Luckily, I got to it just ahead of my dogs and as soon as I picked it up I could feel it was nothing but skin and bone.

Where I found it is very close to one of my hill tracks. I remember seeing a pair of curlews regularly in this area in the spring. I also remember thinking it was rather high up for curlew to be nesting, and on a rather dry ridge. I usually see them around the parks and boggy flushes near the floor of the glen.

Whatever the reason, I reckoned this bird was pretty close to death. I also reckoned that I was probably wasting my time to try and help it. But I thought I'd give it a go.

Three days on and I've dug a considerable patch of garden in my search for worms. I've also prowled the lawns at night scanning the damp grass with a torch. (It's another good way of collecting earthworms. Honest.) The curlew scoffs everything that's put in front of it.

I won't say it's out of the woods yet- seeing as it spends its time hiding in the Honeysuckle- but it's a good sign that it's feeding. All I have to do for the time being is- make sure it stays in the fruit garden; make sure the dogs stay out of the fruit garden; and dig about a pound of worms a day.


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