Storm Ciara – Wildfowling and pigeons

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A storm was brewing….so what better things to spend a weekend doing than mending the fence (before the storm!), roost shooting and wildfowling.

A last minute invitation had us heading to the marsh first thing Saturday.  J and I spread out along the South edge while A headed to the far corner.  Another wildfowler was further to the west.  I saw a few mallard, but all out of range, and then a quick dart in front of my feet surprised me.  I expected to see a teal but immediately realised that bats were about! So lovely to see them dance around.

Pigeon shooting in a wood is meant to be ideal on a windy Saturday in February.  Saturdays in February because it’s when other people are out so pigeon will move from copse to copse, windy ones because pigeon come in low and fast.

Friends joined us and were placed in a prime location, with J heading to one end of the wood, and me another with Myr. Myr is sitting next to me beautifully now, and it wasn’t too long before I got my only opportunity.  I have not been very good at pigeon shooting, and so when my only shot dropped it cleanly I was very pleased indeed. Myr and I headed over and I sent her to bring it back to me which, again, she did perfectly.  We did a few more retrieves to break up the sitting still for her (she’s still only 8 months old), and she worked out the best way to pick up the pigeon and bring it back to me.

Sunday morning the wind forecast was strong and getting stronger. The alarm was set for early, and it seemed like the sensible thing to do was to head to the marsh.  Yes, that’s right, the sensible thing.  I think something has gone wrong in my head.  Walking along the field was hard work, but I was making progress into the wind, but then I clambered up to the top of the seawall and the wind hit me full in the face. Then it got interesting.  I very slowly walked almost to the end, where A was, and stopped, again hoping for any strays to come my way.  A pair of long mallard to my left and then a text message sent me even further along the seawall, but still not round the corner as I didn’t want to tread on A’s toes.  I heard shots and swivelled towards them, seeing the mallard flying perpendicular to the seawall.  For once I did the sensible thing and spun round on my knees, facing forward rather than twisted. I waited and pulled the trigger only once to watch the mallard fold up. I couldn’t see it’s landing point but suspected the borrowdyke.  A congratulatory text from A confirmed he’d marked it and would send his young dog for it later. What I thought was a 30yard shot turned out to be an excellent 50yard shot and well past the borrowdyke!

The wind was getting up and up, and walking back was even harder along the seawall.

We decided to stick with our original plan and head to the other marsh for the tide flight, and although the walk out was over soft and easy grass, every step was hard work.  We eventually made it, and just 2 hours before high water there was a mere trickle of water in the bottom of the creek.

Wind doesn’t show up in photos, but the lack of water does…

We lasted 15 minutes before sensibly heading home. What had seemed hard work walking first thing, turned out to be the easiest walk of the day! 

The afternoon was spent recovering from the morning, but I was so so pleased with the standard of my shooting, 100% from 2 shots and while I gave away the pigeon to a friend, the mallard is prepared and is in my freezer to be barbecued in the summer.