Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Fox Pause

Spare a thought for a couple of my colleagues. We've been champing at the bit, wanting to get on with our foxing but the weather has been so bad we've had to put things on hold. Unfortunately those two found a den just before the weather took a serious downturn. Or should that be downpour? They did get the vixen coming in to the hole at 3am on the first night. But there was no sign of the dog. And the weather was awful. So they were out again all last night. They got a glimpse of the dog in the wee small hours but never got a shot. And the weather was worse. As I write this, the last of the light is leaving the sky. The guys will be back at the den by now. It's been a shocker of a day- wind, rain and snow on the tops. And the forecast is for it to deteriorate through the night. Who'd have thought it possible? As for me, it looks like it will be another day of crow cages and stoat traps tomorrow. It's high time I was checking my trees for crows nests too. But with a lot of the trees being up in the rock faces, I'll maybe leave that until the hill is drier and the rocks less slippery. If the recent weather is anything to go by, the trees will be in full leaf by the time that happens. Just so long as they're not turning yellow!

Monday, 16 April 2012

A Whole Lot of Holes

Well, the rest of the heather burning season passed with nary a stick being burnt. If we'd been desperate we might have got a fire in on Friday afternoon but, by that stage, we were all geared up for other activities.

The grouse nesting season fast approaches. It's the time of year that hens are most vulnerable. To say nothing of eggs and chicks. So we've been putting our 'smoke break' to good use by getting all our stoat traps and crow cages set up. We also managed to get a few of our regular maintenance jobs out of the way which will free us up a bit more in the coming weeks.

Which is very good news for now our foxing season is upon us. And that means there just wont be enough hours in the day for the next few weeks.

We started today by walking a chunk of our lowest ground. It some areas, the ground is just riddled with rabbit holes- any of which could be scraped out and used by a fox.

So myself and 5 colleagues walked in a widely-spaced line with our shotguns and terrriers. We walked and we checked out sandholes and cairns as we went. We walked and we checked, we checked and we walked. We started walking at, say 0930 and we stopped at around 1600. That's a lot of holes.

By good fortune we didn't find anything. I say that because if we'd found a den, two of us would have been out all night on a stake-out for the dog fox. And the forecast is appalling.

But we've been there before and survived to tell the tale. Though not in language we could use in front of the children.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

And The Weather Will Be Changeable....

Well, we're still not burning heather. The weather has gone from the sublime to the cor blimey. Suffice to say there wont be any runaway fires for a while.

The pics were taken just 4 days apart. If you look closely you'll see a tree bent double under the weight of snow. Coming into leaf obviously increases their surface area.

There's a niggling thought that keeps coming into our heads- in two weeks time we should be starting our foxing season. And with that comes our all-night vigils as we stake out the dens.

Maybe that should be 'fridgils'.