Managed to get out with Nautilaus21, the lucky recipient of the recent H4H auction on Saturday for a "full" day of shooting. N21 had originally bid on the wildfowling I'd offered, but as I had another person doing pigeons and both had paid good money for a worthy cause I thought a full day of Pigeons and then an evening flight was only fair.
As it happened the other chap was unable to make it due to putting his back out beating the day before, which means I've got another chance to get out (Makes it easier when telling the missus).
We had a crack at the pigeons over sugar beet tops which had subsequently been drilled with Wheat/Barley. The action was a bit slow, but plenty of birds flying around. We'd set up in a ditch line with the birds predominantly coming from behind over the hedge.
I went for a "wander" to see if I could scare some birds up from the bottom of the field (Also I'd lost my mobile so was trying to call it only to have my mate answer it as it had fallen out in the hide before I left ) , whilst away I heard plenty of shooting coming from N21 and my friend who had come along to help out as there was going to be two guests. Got back to find that it had all been at a solitary magpie (Some 4-5 shots). As I started to wander back the contractor who helps out on the farm was starting to roll the fiweld we were set up on!!!!
Lucky enough the deeks were set far enough out to allow him to pass inside, so before he came back we pulled the deeks up and had an early lunch of Home made Duck pasties, Carrot and Corriander Soup and Tangy Lemon Cake whilst the contractor moved out far enough. All this time Birds were trying to land on the field, so rather than move elsewhere, we set up again this time with N21 moving further down the left under a known flight line.
The action definitely picked up and despite lots of shooting and misses we ended with a respectful bag of 1Magpie, 1 Rook (Good shooting N21) to the shouts of "Run Forest, Run", 1 Seagull (It was one on the general licence before anybody asks) and 14 Pigeons. To be honest had we stayed there and not had to get to the marsh we could have easily doubled the bag (If only we could shoot properly).
Got to the marsh about 4.15 meeting up with another club member who'd brought along his silosock pinkfoot decoys to try and give us a good chance of getting the geese to commit. Nice to get there in plenty of time, means you can have a leisurely stroll out, gauge the wind, and work out the best place to get hidden up rather than rushing and getting there as the birds come in.
Walking on we had been telling N21 about the number of CWD we see up there, and never having seen one, he was almost bound to see at least one. (Two trips ago we saw five at the same time and last trip out, put one up about 15yards away from us.) Not failing to see at least one this year, we were under pressure, but walking over to the farside there was one on the far boundary and another a bit closer in feeding amongest the marsh grass. As far as I know nobody shoots these, and the numbers are definitely on the increase and long may it continue.
Set the Deeks up, and have to say first time I've seen them in action and they move well in the wind, bobbing like real geese feeding. Set N21 and myself up in front of the pattern, whilst my two mates went further down the end of the marsh. Almost straight away we had a largish pair of waders land to the rear of the pattern, and it was still light, so things looked good for later on.
The odd duck flighted around, loads of cormorants, a nice pair of swans came over us. The occasional shot on the surrounding marshes was heard, and things tensed up when almost without warning N21 spotted a skein of 10-12 greylag coming straight down the Reed line at us. I hadn't expected them so early or for my mates not to have called at them as they had to have come almost straight over them. I gave a few calls and the skein seemed to slow as one as they came to the deeks, they were curious, but unfortunately just out of range pushing 55-60 yards even with 3" loads. The lead bird side slipped and the rest followed and no amount of caling would get them turning.
As it got darker, mallard flew around in pairs or threes, and N21 spotting three late coming straight towards us, managed to get a shot off as they went over us, and we think he tipped one, but theyall flew on dropping beyond the marsh behind us. The most exciting moment happened when whilst whistling at widgeon, 5 appeared out of nowhere 20 yards in front and like the red arrow display team bomb burst over and behind us at head height. We both managed to get a shot off, but at that range, we'd either cleanly miss or waste them.
No birds were dropped by any of us that night, and on the way back, Widgeon and Teal could be heard calling as they flew overhead, as were a late skein of geese as we stood by the car loading up.
Nobody said wildfowling was easy, and at least we had opportunities, but I've offered to take N21 out again when more geese come in as unlike the previous week where three skeins come over, we only had the one that came in like slient assassins, to surprise us.
Hope you enjoyed it N21 and maybe next time we can get you a duck at least.