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A day on the Marshes, Tim Watts explains…

Rural Matters

Article written by 20 January 2015
Ducks in Argentina resize

Game shooting is now in full swing and our early two driven pigeon days seem a life time ago with the warm green countryside and guns wandering around in shirt sleeves. A cracking Autumn for pigeons produced over four hundred on our the two driven days and several monster days of between 400 and 600 decoyed over stubbles in our small part of East Anglia. Early season teal in September and October were very good for those who had water after a dry summer that we seem to have now forgotten about! The ponds ditches and low lying ground now over-flowing and our wetland fowl are more safely split. Now feeding over the natural feed of acres of fresh ground. It may be some time before winters grip forces them to start revisiting the flight ponds again but hopefully this will include with some new arrivals from the North East.

Recently I walked the guns round our low lying meadows to ambush some pheasants on their way back to their home woods. Wisps of snipe dodged between the hard rush and my thoughts were elsewhere, what on earth I was doing here!  The coastal marshes would be full of snipe and their golden clad brethren fresh down from their north eastern wilderness. It was only after a glass of sloe gin and a very successful drive that my frustration chilled.  The warm shelter of the vehicles, jolly banter, drink and some sausage rolls was, lovely, and I then thought who would want to be trudging into a head wind shooting at those impossible little birds with hands so frozen you could barely feel the trigger! Well may be they will still be there tomorrow if I go and try.

Yes life is not so unfair.  For those who have not been privileged enough to be asked out for a day game shooting, there is the opportunity and privilege to pick that day to go down to the Marshes after very wild quarry benefit from natures wild harvest. Being in the right place at the right time that makes the pursuit of wild quarry so very precious, where numbers and time mean nothing and field craft is everything.

I look forward to another day on the Marshes.

T C Watts  

Framlingham Environmental  

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