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General > Wildfowling - Evening flight on South Solway...
Wildfowling - Evening flight on South Solway Wildfowlers Association Marsh at Cardurnock.

I’ve never had a lot of success chasing geese at evening flight on the South Solway and the combination of a clear calm night and reports of very few geese did little to encourage me. However a friend had taken out a visitors permit for my club marshes and I’d promised to accompany him so I was pretty much committed to the task.

 

The marshes on the South Solway aren’t a bad drive from home, 55 minutes and we arrived at Newton. I took Steve for a quick tour of the marshes at Skinburness, Calvo, Border, Newton and Cardurnock but there was little to see other than the usual hordes of Barnacle Geese and a few lads out on the marsh hoping to decoy a Pink.

 

When we arrived at Cardurnock the sun was setting so we pulled on our gear and hastily made our way out. 

A Wildfowlers Sunset over the Solway
Wildfowlers sunset on the Solway
 I had my mind set to go onto the point adjoining the RSPB reserve in the hope that there may be an odd party feeding on Campfields and that they’d cut over the point on the way back to roost. Though reports were of no geese in that area I was hoping a few bunches might have just dropped in on the moon that was now starting to show up, the full moon was in a week’s time and this usually prompts the geese to move area. Prior to going out onto the point I had a look a bit further up the marsh, I wanted to see if there were any signs of geese feeding on the marsh as this would give me a boost for later in the week – sadly my search drew a blank, no sign and even worse my favourite hiding hole had been filled with sand on the last big tides.
Wildfowler glassing the South Solway
Wildfowler glassing the Solway

 

As darkness started to fall I settled down under the bank edge running alongside the main creek. I’d brought both my dogs out for the flight including my 8 month old Labrador who was having his first look at the marsh – he was proving difficult and I could not get him to settle down. I was laid down under the bank and the pup thought it was a great idea to lie on me and lick my face, this is not conducive to good shooting but you try and explain that to him!

 

It was pretty dark when I heard the first small lot of geese way up the marsh near the village, they dropped way out onto the roost never coming within a mile of us. The next lot came up the estuary, maybe from Rockliffe, and again dropped into the roost without offering us any opportunity. It was now well after sunset but the rising moon lit up the sky when I heard another lot and these seemed to have come off Campfields and were heading up the edge of the reserve towards us. It was to dark to see them yet but they sounded like a bunch of 20-30 and not too high. I gave them a call and they responded, a couple more calls and I could make out that they had changed direction and were heading straight at me. A few more calls kept them coming to me, I was still laid behind the bank and as I felt they were closing in on me I rolled over and onto my knees whilst picking up my 3.5” auto which was tooled up with a deadly load of steel. As I moved my pup jumped out of the creek and did a merry dance on the top of the marsh whilst I screamed at him! At exactly that time the geese came into view in the moonlight and, yes, they saw us both and flared away without me getting a shot off. The lesson for today was clearly DON’T take a young dog until you’ve trained him!

The Wildfowlers Dog
The Wildfowlers Dog ready for action

 

There was a fair bit of moon showing so I stayed on the marsh a little longer but soon the cloud cleared making it impossible to see anything in flight. As well as this there was nothing to be heard moving so I decided to call it a night and head away home. I left full of confidence as the full moon would be in 5 days time so I’d be having a few nights out moon flighting, with a few Pinks starting to come into the marsh prospects were looking up.

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