And with that we reach 1st September and autumn is here. Time for cooler weather and earlier starts; well the early starts at least!
While in many parts of the country, 1st September falling on a Sunday means another work week until the early starts, in Essex there isn’t such a rule. With that, J and I met up with a friend at 4am yesterday morning to walk out to the furthest point of one of the marshes, to try and have some water left from the big tide and with a very feint hope of seeing ducks.
With it being exactly 1 year from my first ever wildfowling trip, and to the same marsh, I did a lot of reflecting over the changes a year has made. From a personal point of view, J and I are settled(settling) into our new home and really enjoying having an outdoor space; our new puppy is growing fast, and will be joining us this time next year, and from the wildfowling point of view I was pleased to find the walk easier, and significantly less nerve wracking than this time last year.
P set out the decoys and we settled in to wait. And wait…. While the only ducks we saw were a pair of mallard a long way off, the range of bird life on the marsh is wonderful to see and hear. The sounds of the curlew, and 4 egrets flying along the creek were my favourites.
My eyes may have closed briefly in a few “long blinks”, but I don’t think I missed anything. Even the sunrise wasn’t what I hoped for, but I ensured we didn’t go home dinnerless after cutting a handful of samphire.
After being back on the marsh my soul felt renewed and the day that followed was peaceful and I felt more myself than I have done in some time.
To complete the day, and having a goose flightpath over the meadow (which J took video evidence of just a couple of weeks ago!) we set out a new set of greylag decoys out and settled down to wait. We saw several pigeon, a woodpecker, and another friend with us saw a mallard fly over the barn, but even with the audio on my ear defenders turned right up, didn’t hear a single honk.
The meadow doesn’t have the same atmosphere as the marsh, there is too much road noise, barking dogs etc, and not enough water, but the sunset and the bats flying about after reminded me again what a special place it is.