It was overcast, in the mid-40s, and spitting a little rain and sleet a couple of times today which meant the grouse were out in numbers. Little Thuddy started the count with a single grouse contact and then we ran Abbie and LJ up in the Orchard. There weren’t any birds in the regular places and LJ may have had an encounter with one of Bullwinkle’s relatives as he got out almost 600 yards at one point. When he came back he crossed a large field and dove into some cover. He was 254 yards away when the Garmin buzzed. I never thought he’d stand long enough for me to get there, but he did and a woodcock was flushed. That made it one woodcock and one grouse. Then we went to a place that will remain nameless and ran Jack and Trash. Let’s just say it was a hell of show. Jack had three woodcock finds and five grouse finds. Trash had a number of finds of her own to give us a total of five woodcock and 17 grouse (that’s right 17) we had two grouse on the road to give us a total of 20 grouse and 6 woodcock for the running dogs part of the day. The grouse above was number 20 and we got to take some pictures before he wandered off the road.
One of the things I needed to work on was shortening Jack up a bit but he was on a mission today and his first find was at 385 yards. I hoped it was a woodcock because I assumed a grouse wouldn’t stay around very long. I was wrong. Jack was pointing at a drumming log and the bird obviously didn’t want to leave as he was only about 30 feet away when I got to the dog. It is amazing what a male (of any species) will do for sex. On another find I was sure we had a hen woodcock on a nest as she was sitting tight on a small hummock about five feet in front of Jack. I went to him and collared without trying to flush and the bird flew. There was no nest but I assume there will be one shortly.
Here at home we are not running any dogs until after the nesting season so Katie and I just took a walk around the training loop without a dog and flushed five more grouse. That made 25 grouse for the day as well as many others we heard drumming. Last night when I got home from school I could hear at least one woodcock peenting and doing the sky dance. I was in the wrong position to see him silhouetted against the sky but I could definitely hear his wings as he flew. It will be a little warmer tonight so hopefully there will be more activity.