I have just returned from two days at Moy Game Fair and what an absolute delight it was to catch up with so many old friends and meet some new ones.
I can only apologise sincerely if I didn’t speak to all the other people I could see in the corner of my eye, waiting patiently for a quiet word. Two days of wonderful sunny weather certainly seemed to cheer everyone up and the whole show was buzzing with good vibes.
Many people were asking how my pheasant poults were fairing due to the bad weather and the buzzard predation. This year was probably the worst I can remember for rainfall, combined with low temperatures, since I started in the gamekeeping profession. In the first two weeks of having the birds the rain never stopped and the thermometer was reading 8 degrees in the mornings. It was more like November!
The first week I lost a good few poults to the Tawny Owls and Sparrowhawks and then the Buzzards found them and, since then, we have been losing one a day at each pen for the last 28 days.
As well as these losses from direct predation, my poults once again are on the verge of leaving me because of the onslaught, hence hundreds more losses, and I can’t do a damn thing about it.
I have had a PhD student helping me this season and he is astonished at the death and destruction these buzzards are meting out, not only to the poults but the other wild birds we have on the estate.
Anybody who is having similar problems, please get in touch with SNH and the Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson and make them aware of your problems.
On a slightly lighter note, a keeper at Moy was telling me of an excursion they had had to the city on a stag night which ended up in the lap dancing club.
Old Sandy the keeper, was pushing on 80 and was sitting quietly in the corner minding his own business when a young nubile lady sat herself down on his knee. Whispering in his ear she said: “Can I get you anything?” to which Sandy replied: “You could nae put the kettle on hen???”