This morning there were four black grouse cocks at my wildcat site, three together displaying on the far side of the valley floor, and one just across the river stock still in the tussocky grass.
After breakfast I was still wide awake so I went the short distance to the moor above town on the road to Nairn, hoping to redress the balance of grouse by seeing some red, the UK's commonest species by far.
It was not the red I was hoping to see that leapt onto the road and under my tyres as I passed through the larchwoods by Grantown. This red was a squirrel and I was appalled at the thought of squelching it. I wasn't going fast but a truck was speeding behind me and I could do nothing but drive. With relief and amazement I looked in my mirror and saw no tiny tan corpse on the road. I had not squelched the squirrel.
This was enough but my day got better still. Not far from here I saw the red I sought: right by the road, with a curlew, a pair of grouse and their five rotund chicks some two weeks old.
I return to my bed a happy man. And greatly relieved.
|Lousewort on the moor by the road to Nairn|