We have experienced a rollercoaster Spring after a very dry early late Winter and exceptional warm conditions in March. April and May have turned out to be one of the coldest, wettest Springs for some time.
Generally the grouse had a very dry Winter and came into the Spring in good condition and I am fairly confident, where the Medicated Grit has been properly provided, there are grouse in good enough condition to sustain the frost and rain of early May. Most moors report excellent Spring pair counts
The peak grouse hatch is usually around the 20th May, but the early broods seen around 14th May have not dwindled in size. Those broods hatching on 20th onwards have experienced some of the best possible weather for chick survival with excellent temperatures and nice damp mornings to provide plenty of insect life.
Those moors where the grouse are healthy have witnessed some larger than average broods. There is antidotal evidence of unusual diseases on the higher Pennine moors which have been carrying high over wintering densities of grouse for last few years.
On one moor with very high densities, the wet weather has allowed the outbreak of worm and some mortality from the traditional grouse disease has been noted on one large moor.
With the forecast set to turn a little bit cooler than the current high temperatures with showers unless we revert to snow and frosts between now and mid June, I foresee that there will be successful seasons yet again on many of the moors here in Yorkshire.
I am therefore quite positive about the moors in North Yorkshire both on the Dales and on the Pennines.
Will be updating further in July when the counts are done.