Our Headkeeper of a prestigious Sporting Estate in the Angus Glens, Scotland, has been very busy preparing for the Grouse season…
Unfortunately the wader chicks have not done so well this Spring due to the colder temperatures and as a result a lack of insect life. The photo below is of Colin the Curlew chick, who is being raised in some rough grazing fields on the edge of the Moor. I could only see him or her, so I therefore think he is an only child! Usually our average Curlew brood would be around two to three chicks, but this Spring the Curlews that have nested on higher ground have on average been unsuccessful in hatching. The Curlews sensible enough to nest on the lower marginal ground, appeared to at least have hatched some smaller broods.
Colin the Curlew Chick
The Lapwings were more successful this Spring. I’ve seen some broods of three to four hatched early on in the year, but they seemed to have also struggled slightly as the temperature dropped. I have Lapwing hatching off with late broods now, so fingers crossed the warm weather we are enjoying will last to help the chicks once they hatch. Who knows, my BBQ might put in an appearance before long!!
As for the Grouse, the brood sizes are much more varied compared to the Curlew and Lapwing. I feel the early broods have dropped in numbers a little, possibly due to colder temperatures. I saw the first brood on the 22nd of May, but they have not had any decent temperatures until this week. I think overall the bad weather during the Spring has effected the Grouse brood numbers. However I do not think it will be a disaster, but numbers will not be as prolific as previous years.
There is still a bit of time between now and the Glorious Twelfth, so I best get the Grouse Butts painted, Moorland roads repaired, bridges strengthened, Beater’s wagons prepared, organise the Beaters and Pickers-up, sign up the Loaders, dry clean the Keeper’s shooting suits, give the Game-larder a spring clean, work and train the Gundogs and get the summer counts completed. So there is not a lot to fit in really!
Not to mention, the Pheasant and Partridge pens need to be prepared to await the arrival of the Poults, which will be delivered before the Glorious Twelfth. Summer on the Moor in the Angus Glens will be a very busy one as ever!
Oh but first, where did I put my BBQ ?