Success is relative..

Well it's that time again. My weekly opportunity to sit out for a deer or fox, on the way to the farm to feed the birds.

Today I take the "new" Landy. She is not used much in normal circumstances, and has barely moved off the drive in the past year. She needs a run out. I load her up last night with all that I will need and retire to bed in order to lie awake waiting to get up. The news seems to repeat itself every fifteen minutes and none of it is good. I give up the pretence of sleep and go down into the kitchen. It is 0145 hours. For goodness sake.

What seems like days later and it is 0345 hours - near enough. I have dressed in layers (image (iii) but have assessed that I will not be needing the massive onesie that oft accompanies me in the winter months.
About forty five minutes later I pull into the petrol station in order to fill the old girl up. There are two young lads behind the jump. As I approach the doors to the station, I don my CV mask and notice that they do likewise. It is the new norm.

Buoyed up - like only a full tank of diesel can make a Landy driver - I peel off towards the Estate and arrive there at 0430 hours. Last night's moon was a Waxing Gibbous and so when I kill the truck's headlamps it is fairly light. I de-bus and head off to the seat at the back of the "Big House". I have my TI with me, and as I enter the back garden (not your average size garden - it is huge) I scan and can see a Heron at the pond. I freeze and continue to scan. The Heron is giving off a "heat signature" but is not moving. Perhaps it is asleep. I wait a few moments and then stalk behind it without waking it. I congratulate myself of being some kind of Ninja Stalking God and am only brought back to reality on the way out some two hours or so later (see image (i)).

At 0445 hours I am in the seat and settled. Sunrise today is scheduled for 0702 hours and so I reckon I will just have the TI until about 0615 hours. I scan the ground to my front (image (ii)).
Whilst doing so I notice that the internal clock on the TI reads 0500 hrs. I listen out for the Church Bells to peel the hour. Nothing. At 0502 (by the thermal) the Church Bells sound five times. I check my watch. My watch says 0500 hours, the Church says 0500, my thermal say 0502 hours. Any "normal" person would not even notice. I have OCD and am forced to spend the next fifteen minutes dicking about with the thermal until I can "wind" it's clock back two minutes. Tragic.

By 0530 I am back on task. Movement from my left, and not barking, but a couple of throaty grunts, to announce his presence and out pops a Buck. His antlers are well above his ears and I am delighted to see him (all be it only through the thermal). He only loiters for a couple of minutes and then exits stage right.

At 0545 hours the Cock Pheasants begin to wake. Then the "hooting" of owls. The thermal allows me to focus in onto two owls who are sat in a tree opposite me and sitting on neighbouring branches. Stuff I would not have seen without the thermal. Alerted by the rhythmic tapping, I also focus in on a Woodpecker and can see it hammering away at the trunk. By 0615 hours the dawn chorus is in full swing and the day has arrived in earnest.

Last year a Beater reported a conversation he had with his opthalmologist. She reports that using a TI is damaging to one's sight. I wonder. My "on eye" is my right. I was scanning for about an hour.
When I stopped scanning I closed my left eye and tried to see with just my right - it was as though the world was in sepia. Using just my left eye, night vision was unaffected. These effects were temporary and eventually my "on eye" settled down but it did give me food for thought. Are there any long term deleterious effects on using TIs?

Pushing thoughts of premature blindness to one side, I reached for my refs. I managed to eat my roll and drink a cup of coffee without incident. By the time I had finished my repast, it was light enough to use my binocular. I had it with me. Yes Ladies and Gentlemen, for the third time of asking, I had managed to remember my binocular. Shame there was nothing to see with it.

At 0745 hours I dismount and make my way to the farm. The farmer sees me approaching and shamefaced says, "I was going to text you last night. I have a new battery for the Keeper's Jeep".
Finally. I start to thank him.

"Don't thank me yet I have not fitted it yet!".
Poor old "Eddie" get shafted again; but in half an hour I am driving away with the Jeep and her new battery. I have been asking for that battery since the first day of the Keeping season. It finally arrived today. Today is the last day of the Keeping season. Ahh well.

So, success is indeed relative.

I did not drop my refs. I remembered my binocular, the Keeper's Jeep has a new battery.

Yes. I would put today down as a roaring success...


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Well-Known Member
cracking write up! its not often I have a giggle to myself but reading this while remembering your previous one I just couldn't help myself

Rutland lad

Well-Known Member
I didn't think it was the use of the thermal that was making my eyesight go bandy !
more like the poster of Charlies Angels that used to adorn my teenage bedroom ........


Well-Known Member
I love it! Great little read

Out where we waterfowl in North Dakota there is a rock that is now named “badger rock” as not once, but twice I have stalked it. Now that particular body of water we call Badger rock lake


Well-Known Member
Out where we waterfowl in North Dakota there is a rock that is now named “badger rock” as not once, but twice I have stalked it...
Once stalked a Sika Hind for hundreds of yards down a very steep ride in Sutherland - all witnessed by a mate in the truck on the forest road.

Turned out to be a large rock with lichen on it's "arse".

That was long slog back up to the tuck...
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