The editor counts his blessings whilst carrying out a wildlife rescue
Being an airgun hunter is just one part of my love of the countryside. On a recent evening roost shoot, which to be fair was totally unproductive in terms of putting meat on the table, I had a front row seat to watch the local wildlife close up. I settled at the bottom of a tree to watch a ‘sitty tree’ where I often see pigeons come and go, and I was fully camouflaged and relaxed as I waited for them to arrive. Just five minutes later, one, then another, followed by two more roe deer does slowly walked in front of me, browsing the delicate herbs between the blades of grass on the horse paddocks. They didn’t notice me and after a while wandered on. Suddenly, I saw a barn own dive to catch a rodent and then fly gracefully on to eat its kill, and a greaterspotted woodpecker worked its way up and down the sitty tree as a tree creeper did the same. Next, Charlie fox worked his way through the carpet of bluebells in search of his dinner just yards from my feet - it was a nature lover’s delight! The very next day whilst out with my dogs near home on a popular walk, I spotted a tawny owl chick sitting on the ground, and I know you’re supposed to leave young birds alone, but there are so many dogs in the area so I picked it up and took it home. I called a friend who works for the RSPB and learned that I had to take it back and put in on a branch where the dogs couldn’t reach it, from where - he assured me - it would climb back to the nest! I did as I was told and balanced the weak and wobbly bird on a thick branch just above the place where I’d found it, and wished it well. These events served to remind me just how lovely our countryside is and how lucky I am to enjoy it.