Friday, 13 January 2017

Dedicated to Kevin J Hale aka Bun

What a team player that man is. Even if he isn't playing, he's with you on your team. Legend.

There he is! Showing well in a striped hat.

Woodcock are pretty reliable at a few sites on patch, but within my PWC patch, or anywhere in the river valley, they are very VERY hard to come by. That's unless of course there's a seriously cold snap with plenty of snow, then they start to behave like Blackbirds and pop up everywhere, but that weather is rare here. Bun suggested the valley at Seaton Hole for me, as he's had them several times in the past in Couchill Woods just to the north. So on two occasions so far this month I have endured evening vigils here, but neither with any success.

Tonight though I was joined by the man himself, and he kindly offered to have a rummage around in nearby woodland as the sun set, whilst I stood within the boundary of my PWC patch. What a top man.  At times he was up to his waste in brambles, climbing up steep banks, slipping back down those steep banks, he just kept plugging away and all for my potential gain. After about five or so minutes I was feeling guilty so shouted out "let's call it a night"... But no, he was going nowhere "I'm just going to check down here by the stream".

Sadly though, despite all his hard work, it didn't have the desired effect. 

But as we walked back to our vehicles, moaning about how daft it is that a bird as beautiful, small, and rare as Woodcock can still be legally shot, something truly magical happened. At 17:15 I looked up towards the first few emerging stars of the night, and there one was!  It had just flown out of the strip of woodland in the Seaton Hole valley, did a couple of laps over the small field in front of us (almost looking like a gigantic bat!) and then disappeared off north.  Absolute result!!  And it's all thanks to Bun. If it wasn't for him I would have left ten minutes earlier.

My 98th bird of the year on my PWC patch. Hopefully the ton is just a few days away...


  1. What a relief, when I read your title I thought he had died!

  2. Am pleased to say he did live to see another day...