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General > Wildfowling Diary - October 2008
Wildfowling Diary - October 2008
A Wildfowlers Diary of flights from Ocober 2008

10th October – Morning Flight

 

I hate these early starts – up at 0230 to head over to Stephen’s for 0320 and then the long trip up to Lindisfarne. This time we had a fog free journey so we made excellent time and arrived at our chosen spot with time for a bite to eat and then a short “cat nap”.

 

We had planned to wait until about 0600 before getting our gear on but when another ‘fowler arrived a short while before that we decided to make a move. Then came the usual ritual – on with wading fleece, waders, jacket and hat – check I’ve got my gun, calls, decoys, mud patterns, cartridges, headover, permit, gloves and….the dog! A quick drink from my flask, a biscuit and having put my Permit Holders “badge” on the car dash we were away. A short walk across the grass and then a brief stop on the edge of the mud to strap on our mud patterns before we embarked on another epic “mud fight”!

 Wildfowlers Dog on the Mussel Beds

 

We found our spot out by the main channel without any trouble but this week we couldn’t get under the bank edge as a Neap tide meant there was still a lot of water left in the gutters. There was a strong wind blowing from the North West so Wigeon coming from the North end would be knocking on a bit this morning and my location meant they would likely drop in the main channel behind me so it could be a testing morning for Teal?

 

Having put half a dozen deecs in the channel I loaded up my new 3.5” semi auto with some 3” Steel 3’s, pulled my headover up just under my eyes, placed my calls round my neck, put my cartridge belt close to hand and then settled down on top of my Army Bergen to wait.

 

As is usual the first packs of Wigeon came from the north in the half light and I was alerted by shots from the Dolphin Stones and then from Stephen. This first large pack came over me at a nice shootable height and a single shot dropped one in the main channel. Teal is a very bold water dog and he hurtled into the water and swan quickly down stream in pursuit of my duck which he picked and brought back without problem. Whilst I waited for Teal several packs of Wigeon passed me by but I left them, there was little point dropping more birds in the main channel until Teal had completed his retrieve – a bird in the hand and all that!

 

The main flight from the North was over pretty quickly and to be honest the number of Wigeon was below what I would have expected but that was made up for by the Barnacles which flighted past me all morning! After the main flight small packs of Wigeon flighted in from the Island side and these came into the main channel very low and I was fortunate to get a further 3 Wigeon for 4 shots. The highlight was some lovely water retrieves and powerful swimming from Teal, he had one wing tipped bird that dropped a good 100 yards down stream and then started to dive before Teal swam him down and made a super retrieve. This was one of those mornings that would have been a big blank had it not been for the dog!

 

As the Wigeon flight was drawing to an end the Barnacles started to move in serious numbers and the majority coming over me or just to my South, I tried my best to get a picture of them silhouetted against the Island but they were all to low! I then had a lovely pack of Wigeon come into the deecs and I can still see a Cock Wigeon hovering over the deecs in full plumage lit up by a rising orange sun. As I lifted the gun to shoot the Wigeon I realised that just behind him were loads of those pesky Barnacles so I erred on the side of caution and passed up an easy shot for fear of a stray pellet hitting a Black and White Goose! I’m sure that Wigeon knew the crack as he seemed to hang there for an eternity almost shouting “come on then, I dare you”!

 

There were plenty of Pinks about that morning but the majority went north to take some high altitude shots from the Tank Blocks up near the causeway, as far as I could see nothing dropped and looking at their height that was no great surprise.

 

I was then presented with an easy chance at Pinks. A long line of Barnies was heading my way from the Island Sands but I could also hear Pinks. As they got near I could clearly pick out a small group of Pinks just out to the left had end of the Barnies and they were heading straight for me and only 15 foot off the sand. As they came across the main channel I could see nothing other than 3 Pinks falling from the sky as my 3.5” Steel BB’s hit home, this was one of the easiest chances I’d ever had. As they reached my side of the creek, and at less than 10 yards range, I picked my first bird and fired. I hit him hard and you could actually see the whole shot string come out of it’s back and both legs were smashed yet it turned back over the channel which was now very wide on the rising tide. I sent Teal after it and expected it to splash straight down in the water but somehow it managed to keep going – I was so surprised I’d not even fired my 2nd or 3rd shot. I was gutted, totally gutted, over the last 4 seasons I’ve shot fair few geese (about 100) with Steel and have had an excellent Cartridge to Kill ratio this was only the first time I’ve had a loss like this and it spoilt my flight.

 Wildfowler and a rising tide

 

 

The tide was now rising quickly, so much so that when I went to get my Mud patterns I realised they were under water, somewhere. A little panic struck me before I remembered that both Stephen and I had both brought a spare Mud Pattern so at worst I’d have to borrow his spare to make up a pair if I could not find my submerged pattern. As it happened a quick wade down the gutter revealed them just sub-surface so, panic over! I strapped my Mud Patterns on and headed inland, Stephen waited a bit longer than me surrounded by the tide on the high ground of the Mussel beds in the hope of another duck as the Wigeon started to lift and head back from the South.

 

A warm morning, neoprene chest waders, soft mud and a heap of cold weather clothing meant a tough walk back and I was glad to sit and have a cold drink whilst I waited for Stephen at the car. Stripping off my gear I realised just how wet and muddy I was and looking at the state of the gun I’d borrowed the thought struck me that I might have to buy it?Another successful flight but tinged with sadness and frustration at loosing a goose.

 A muddy bag of wigeon

 

 

 

7th October – Morning Flight

 

Sam’s away on a School Trip this week so this would be my first “solo” flight of the season. Arriving at the Car Park another ‘fowler was also just arriving, we had a quick chat but as light was just starting to show through we pulled our gear on quickly and headed off without delay.

 

The other guy dropped off first and I went on a decent distance but not as far as I’d planned as a single goose came off early and headed towards me. I’d brought my semi-auto 10 bore this morning, I’ve not used it for 5 or 6 years but fancied a blast with it for a change. I slipped three rounds of Steel BB’s into it and tucked myself and Teal down into the gutter. The goose came in at a respectable height but as I went up for the shot he curled away making for a challenging shot which I missed with the first and killed him clean with the second – a good result and an super retrieve by young Teal.

 

Within 10 minutes the main flight began with the early geese heading out over the place I had planned on going to – such is wildfowling! About 800 geese flighted and it looked it was all over until one last lot of about 100 rose from the roost, they circled a couple of times and then headed in at 45 degrees to the main flight and straight over me. I got Teal laid down, tucked myself up under the bank and hoped! They kept coming and at a very shootable height, straight in and over me they headed. Then bang, bang – up to my right the other ‘fowler took a wild shot at the end of the far skein which must have been a good 100 yards from him! Fortunately the main lot coming to me kept a straight course and as they came over me I lifted my Ithaca Auto 10 and with 2 shots I had 2 geese tumbling out of the sky. I could maybe have had 3 for 3 but I like to keep my last shot “in reserve” just in case I need it to finish off a potential runner. I sent Teal out for the furthest bird, well that’s not strictly true as Teal had actually run off when he saw the goose come down, and I picked up the nearest one. An unusual double – a Greylag and a Canada!

 3 Geese with the 10 Bore

 

 

A quick glass of the roost revealed no more geese so this morning would be a short sharp flight and back home nice and early!

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