Whilst this should have been posted in Sporting Pictures, as I did not take any photos, then here I assume is more appropriate.
This week saw me on a rape stubble. Several fields of rape had been cut and the first I looked at yesterday was covered in pigeons but was being disced so best left once the tractor had finished as the dust created was pretty extensive across the field with the current wind. This will be looked at later in the week as I've found that birds still find seed on a disced field and are still attracted to it, sometimes more so, for whatever reason. The second, three small fields in total had birds down with a steady flightline to and from all three fields. These fields were out on the marshes and being flat provided little cover other than reeds along the dykes but did provide a cooling breeze in the heat and were therefore my favoured option knowing that comfort was to be the overriding factor over a large bag. My time out also was restricted to just two and a half hours so better to be comfortable I thought. Fortunately the fields had been cut short around all the headlands so driving was easy without that nagging thought that the 18 inch stubbles would be doing damage to my ageing little 4x4's undercarriage.
Set up with my newly acquired 'desert' net (thanks again Cranfield) to the front and a slightly higher net to the back I was soon in position with just a couple of floaters, half a dozen dead and breasted birds on cradles and a flapper. The wind was on my back and any birds approaching would be from behind to swing round into the decoys or in front from the far field. They mainly came from behind which gave some testing shots as they took me by surprise but swung nicely round into the decoys. Sometimes their shadows were seen on the ground giving warning of their approach which alerted me in readiness for what was then a relatively easy shot. In this instance, it was the thought that I had done something right with the layout that gave me most pleasure as they decoyed well.
I ended up with just 17 birds and none lost which for me was a most satisfying and relaxing few hours out. Also seen that afternoon were a pair of marsh harriers and a little egret, the latter becoming more common in these parts.
On returning home, just outside my village a large field of rape recently cut was still covered in pigeons despite my pal shooting 81 on that field on Saturday. He was able to sell on his bag but declined to go the next day as our local gamedealer would take no further birds.
For me however, my little session was more than enough and in comfortable and isolated surroundings, so I purposely did not shoot what would have been the most productive field. Others no doubt would disagree, but I am most fortunate in being able to shoot whenever I wish and do not have the time, inclination, or stamina to shoot bags of 80+ but admire those, particularly PC et al, who regularly return with such bags. For me little and often suffices, also in the knowledge that my meagre returns are not wasted as we tend to eat pigeon at least once a week all year round, with any excesses given to friends and neighbours.
Thanks for reading.