We have had a pretty dry winter without long periods of relentless wet weather and driving winds which takes it out of the grouse.
All the grouse I have seen this Spring seem very shiny and in good condition. Those counting grouse did not pick any diseased birds up and encouraging there seems to be far less symptoms of Bulgy Eye around.
However it has been a very dry four weeks and the moors could probably do with a bit of rain to ensure the grouse do not pick up coccidiosis infection from or drinking the same water holes.
Grouse eggs were seen from early April and all signs are that the grouse will be sitting and hatching from the first week of May onwards.
This time last year I commented “We will have some adverse weather between now and 1st June I am sure!” well it just didn’t happen – so look out for this year.
Given that we have had such dry and most wonderful weather for over twelve months now, I am anticipating that we are due a deluge, it is just a matter of when this bad weather will start. The snow showers that we had last night (27th April) are promise of further cold weather this week. If that persists beyond the middle of May it could potentially do some serious harm as there may not be sufficient insects for the young chicks and they could starve.
I am anticipating that the Game Conservancy Council Spring counts will be near there all time high, particularly on the Pennine Moors.
Generally I just think we are due some bad weather and this may impact on grouse productivity.
Adrian Thornton-Berry April 2015