Friday, August 22, 2008

Week 33

Week 33

More rain and more wind, the weed cut ended on Tuesday and true to form a load of weed came down the river on the Wednesday. Fishing is still difficult, as many fish caught on the surface as on a nymph. Fly hatches are sporadic and very weather dependant, the forecast for the coming week is more settled and it will be interesting to see what effect it has on the regularity of fly hatches and the feeding patterns of fish.
The pheasants are doing well. Hard as nails after the recent spell of weather, and beginning to move further away from the pen during the day. One morning this week I arrived at the Chicken run to find my nine brown egg-laying machines accompanied by about fifty pheasant poults; they all seemed to get on and were quite happy to sit down and break bread together.
Another example of a bird being in the wrong place occurred on Thursday. A regular rod had to share part of his day with a Cormorant that was fishing in a short twenty yard stretch of river. Unbothered by his human competitor the bird continued to fish for a full ten minutes before lumbering away with a belly full of fish.
This stretch of river is an alien environment for a Cormorant. Too small, too shallow and full of weed this bird must have been a juvenile pushing the boundaries. He left having taken a few fish and leaving his mark on several others.
Cormorants are a menace to inland fisheries. My son and I fish a pond lower down the valley that is regularly visited by Cormorants, the most we have seen get off the pond is twenty one. The pond is now void of any fish under two pounds and stocking with any other fish is out of the question.
Lakes and rivers in the middle of the country, as far as is possible to be from the coast, have experienced similar problems with this coastal bird. There are too many Cormorants, or not enough fish around the coast; whatever the reason the problem needs addressing with a healthy dose of common sense.
The corn in the fields is still waiting to be cut, a couple of farmers commenting that some crops are past their best and hardly worth cutting, I can only remember one occasion when crops have been chopped in the field and ploughed back into the ground and that was about twelve years ago after a fortnight of late summer rain destroyed the last knockings of the harvest. Currently our neighbouring estate is less than half way through harvest with corn way past its best.
The Game cover this year has been a little patchy. We have one good strip of maize, and one on top of the hill that is not so good with less than fifty percent germination; we will be charged the same for both strips as billing for Game Cover is not performance related.
Yesterday my wife and I were roused in the morning to the sound of a Collie pinning a three month old Roe Deer in the field behind our house. After I chased the dog off in my dressing gown (a sight that would undoubtedly deter larger beasts) The fawn recovered, the dog departed confused by it’s base actions, and everyone survived to see another day. There are lots of Deer around here, and lots of footpaths with people and dogs, occasionally things like this happen that could be avoided with a little more thought by the dog’s owner.
A friend of mine works on a farm, and is also employed as a part time Fireman. He drives the engine and is a “vital cog” in the whole operation, or so he tells me. One late summer Saturday evening they were called to fire in a barn containing some newly harvested bales of Barley Straw. The fire was safely extinguished and his engine was detailed to stand watch overnight in case the barn should flare up again. At first light the dozing firefighters were approached by a distressed lady who had just hit a Roe deer with her Nissan Micra, she was concerned for the stricken animal and could the gallant Firefighters come to her assistance. With a gurgling stomach the ravenous engine driver assured the lady that he would deal with problem, finished off the doomed deer with his fire axe, restarted the barn fire and fed his compatriots on Fillet of Venison for breakfast!
Living the dream boys, living the dream.

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