February 1st and I’m waiting for the big silver bird again – not much fun here, 12 inches of rain between December 15 and January 15. My pond is full and strong winds from the South has bought down 50 odd Poplars in the plantation, fierce wind and rain on Sat 25th lasting only some 15/20 minutes but some of the strongest wind and noise I have experienced on land. This wind was from the North, took another 30 or 40 poplars down, closed the A30 and A33, closed Hunton Lane and the road to Micheldever station. Now I have tree on tree and the Forestry man says I might need a felling licence! No prizes for the response to that.
This storm came at the end of a very pleasant spring day; sunshine, blue skies and temperatures 9-11°C region. I spent the day with Bob Ennis and my two dogs picking up for the local shoot. We started on Douglas Paterson’s land the other side of the A30 in the morning then, after a sandwich lunch, moved quite excitedly on the invitation by Jeremy Hermans to shoot the fir belt leading up to Norbury Ring and Trivets Lane along the river from Weston Colley to Stoke Charity. It didn’t live up to expectation but enjoyed by all.
The previous shoot had been over the turnips at James Gray’s Wonston Manor Farm. Turnips make a noise when you walk through them and get the dogs very excited and is good hiding ground for Partridge. My young dog brought me a bird, it was a Partridge but not the regular Red Leg, it was a Grey (pictured). I was quite elated and even more excited to find it was not damaged. This bird is our indigenous Partridge and in decline, the Red Leg was introduced from France, I don’t know when but often referred to as the Frenchman. I quietly showed the Grey to Roy Luxton who nodded recognition and then let it fly off – good moments those.
Image of Grey Partridge from www.rspb.org.uk