Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex

Big Game Hunting

Sometimes I feel like a big game hunter. Not a very good one though, as the idea of shooting the last white rhino, or whatever poor soul is struggling to cling onto their mortal coil, fills me with as much horror as you might hope.

What I mean is that I often find myself creeping about rather stealthily, for fear of disturbing the animals (sometimes these animals are the kids who I dare not wake up too early for fear, in the words of Russell Crowe in Gladiator, of ‘unleashing hell’).

I move out and forward, toes on grass, silently caressing my Canon SLR in my hands like a rifle and then I wait. I wait for the Big Game.

This game is rarely actually an animal, more often it will be some unexpected quirk in nature’s portfolio.

This morning I made my way over a fence, and into the field of sheep. The sheep, which are not as endangered as some species, did not fear the camera. They coughed and farted around me.

I was being drawn by the beacon of the Morning Star, as some are wont to call the planet Venus at such times. More particularly my magnet was the constellation Scorpius to the south of it. Many are fond of saying that Scorpius cannot be seen in the winter, but that betrays a heavy bias towards evening stargazing rather than the pre-dawn form of the sport.

Then I felt the cold northerly breeze and thinking that I might have caught the scent of some new prey in the air, I turned and as I did the sky drew me in. There it was, the big game! A moonlit mackerel sky. Bang! It fell into the lens and I hauled it back to share with you, round this, the campfire blog.

PS. The star that can be seen near the top of the picture is Arcturus, one of the brightest in the sky.