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General > Wildfowling - Wigeon Flight at Lindisfarne
Wildfowling - Wigeon Flight at Lindisfarne
So far this season Sam and I have not had chance to do much wildfowling as we have been without a suitable vehicle for nearly three weeks our Nissan Navara has blown its gearbox at 55000 miles! Not so good when you consider it also blew its engine at 35000 miles! I've made a lot of enquiries and it appears there are serious engine and clutch/flywheel/gearbox problems with the Navara, here are some examples At the moment we are attempting to get a response from Nissan....
Fortunately a nearby friend of ours, Stephen, shoots Lindisfarne a fair bit and we managed to hook up with him for a lift up to the
Stephen collected us just after 0330, earlier than I would have liked (!) but it was a good call as when we hit the road we had to contend with thick fog for the first 50 miles and that left us at a snails pace. Nevertheless a good run north of
This morning we would be heading out across the mud and onto the mussel beds and hard sand on the main channel, that way we planned to intercept the Wigeon flighting from the feeding grounds on the Eel Grass beds and back to the sanctuary area in the south of the reserve. To get across the mud we would need to wear Mud Patterns (Army Surplus Snow Shoes!) to stop us sinking and this would be a new experience for Sam and as he is aged only 9 we had been concerned that he would struggle to walk in them. However, he had practiced in our field the day beforehand and persuaded me that he could do it!
Kitted up with decoys, guns, steel loaded cartridges, camera, calls, dogs, army bergen and with mud patterns strapped to our feet we headed across the mud heading towards
The arrival of the first packs of Wigeon were proceeded by shots from further up the main channel and to our north, it was pretty clear that other Wildfowlers had walked down and into situ from the causeway. The first of the Wigeon were high and fast when they came to us and you could hardly pick one out for a shot as they arrived from the darker northern sky so we left them and waited for a decent chance. Light was fast approaching and Wigeon were constantly on the move from North to South but most were too far to our side for a shot or simply too high. One pack gave us both a chance of a shot by neither of us connected, I think their speed simply caught us out. I then took a single hen Wigeon from a high pack and it dropped next to us in the channel, luckily Woody was straight onto it as the moment it hit the water it tried to dive and would have made a tough & lengthy retrieve for the dog.
Next up I took a good shot at a crossing bird travelling the far side of the channel and it seemed to drop stone dead in the water. Woody swam across to the side and with the tide rising it gave him a swim approaching 60 yards. Once in the shallows at the far side Woody spent a long time in the water and on the bank searching for the bird but to no avail. He came back into the water and looking at the way he circled and stuck his head under water it looked like the bird must be a runner and that it was constantly diving. Woody searched for about 10 minutes but came up with nothing so I called him back. As I came back up the channel Sam had a shot at a Wigeon only 30 yards high and hit it hard with both barrels, the bird towered and I expected it to drop but it flew on. Very disappointing for Sam as that would have been his first Wigeon. When I got back to him he realised hed loaded up with some old Tungsten Matrix loads and he has had terrible problems with these as we found patterns through the 20 bore are horrendous with them and they simply fail to stop ducks. We had spoken to the manufacturer about this and they had told us that there had been a problem with that particular batch and they had found that they blew their patterns in the twenty! So lesson learnt the hard way Sam stuffed a couple of Steel 4s up the spout, he has used these to devastating effect. As I settled back down with Sam he spotted a dark shape floating in the shallows about 100 yards away from us downstream and thought it might be my Wigeon. I took Woody and sent him back across the channel, out on the far bank I waved him to the right and with a lift of his head he scented the bird and ran down stream and dived into the water a great retrieve and good reward for his persistence.
The sun was now just rising from the mist beyond
Sam did not have long to wait for the geese but rather than coming off the roost in front of Holy Island they came in mega high from inland, obviously they had spent the night feeding under the moon. The first lot numbered about 1500 and they made a super sight in the Salmon Pink Sky. They continued high up and whiffled down onto the sands close to the
The tide had now risen up to our feet so I collected in the decoys whilst Sam moved our bags, guns and cartridges up to the little gutter where we had dumped our Mud Patterns. The rising tide had moved a few packs of Wigeon and the Brent Geese (protected in the
Pinkfeet were now starting to flight inland and the first lots were coming off at a very shootable height so I stuffed some 3.5 Steel BBs into my auto and got ready. Unfortunately they passed a quarter of a mile to our side and they went inland unsaluted. More Pinks flighted but they were obviously well educated and they stayed well out of gunshot. However time was getting on, it was coming up to 0900 and permit conditions mean we had to be off the mud by 1000 so we packed up our gear and strapped our Mud Patterns on ready to do battle with the mud.
Back at the vehicle we stopped and watched the geese dropping into a field close to the marsh. Plans were set to come back and have a go at them under the full moon later in the week.
The journey hope was quick with a short stop at the Purdy Lodge for a fry up! Once at home I had a quick search on the internet and ordered Sam just what he needed a pair of electric heated socks!
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