Trichostrongylus tenuis eggs were counted in faeces from individually marked wild red grouse for 8 years. Egg counts varied seasonally and annually. In some years, a sudden increase in mid-April was consistent with delayed maturation of larvae which had overwintered in the birds in a hypobiotic state. A more gradual increase in summer was probably due to uninterrupted maturation of larvae ingested then. Despite 30-fold year-to-year variation in mean egg counts, relative differences in egg counts among known individuals within years tended to persist across years. Rainfall in previous summers explained much of the year-to-year variation in egg counts, probably because parasite recruitment was greatest during wet summers. Grouse density was only weakly related to worm egg counts. The data were not consistent with the hypothesis that the cyclic-type population fluctuation in red grouse numbers observed at the time of this study was caused by the parasites.