Air Gunner - - Contents -

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.


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