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Thy have started on the rape.


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No snow today, just ice and thick fog. Nothing over the rape but they're in the woods over the next field.

Shot 6 rats in the barn with the moderated  .410 then had another recce.

Crows in trees and pheasants below. Decoyed for an hour in icey rain for just one crow and a glimsp of two high pigeon. 

Back into the barn for two rats then home for lunch and my afternoon nap😁

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37 minutes ago, Centrepin said:

No snow today, just ice and thick fog. Nothing over the rape but they're in the woods over the next field.

Shot 6 rats in the barn with the moderated  .410 then had another recce.

Crows in trees and pheasants below. Decoyed for an hour in icey rain for just one crow and a glimsp of two high pigeon. 

Back into the barn for two rats then home for lunch and my afternoon nap😁

Your certainly a tryer, I will give you that. :good:

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4 hours ago, Centrepin said:

No snow today, just ice and thick fog. Nothing over the rape but they're in the woods over the next field.

Shot 6 rats in the barn with the moderated  .410 then had another recce.

Crows in trees and pheasants below. Decoyed for an hour in icey rain for just one crow and a glimsp of two high pigeon. 

Back into the barn for two rats then home for lunch and my afternoon nap😁

Centrepin  ... I admire your dedication and you deserve a good day when it come your way , You have got more than enough experience under your belt to know where to look for Pigeons and your Rape fields are like ours , devoid of any Pigeon activity , yesterday I cleaned out five I had hanging up in the garage that I had shot over the last week when I walk down the marsh in the afternoons when the Pigeons are making there way back to the marsh carr on the edge of the marshes , four of them were stuffed with Ivy berries and the other one had leaves which I couldn't identify , might well had been bits of Clover from the towns park , so until they clear the berries up we will just have to wait till they go on there last resort , the dreaded rape .

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I'm sure this massive reduction in the amount of rape in the ground has caused a big shift in where a lot of pigeons are residing.  I wonder if they've either a) found a new alternative to it, or b) have started to congregate more in the areas that rape is available.  Not many reports of decent bags decoying in the last month or two, some flocks reported.... I'm only guessing but I'm sure that collectively on this forum we don't have 100% coverage of all of the country... maybe a lot of pigeons have simply sneaked off to somewhere they don't get hammered?  Or are they indeed getting shot in numbers, but not by people who are on here, or know people who post here to report it?

The woods on our shoot are virtually devoid of pigeon.  They're never heaving with them but you could at least expect a dozen or so shots if you popped out for the last hour of roosting and knew where to look.  Over my Christmas break I made quite a few sorties out in the afternoons, to my usual spots plus a few reconnaissance missions to places I rarely check.  There's virtually no pigeons coming in, just the odd single or pair flitting about.  I walked through a block of mostly pine plantation, well over 100 acres of it, during the last hour before sunset and didn't see anything apart from one bird that pulled up to land just as I walked under the same tree.  Not sure who was the more surprised, I didn't even get the gun mounted before it was too late 🙄

A very large chunk of our land is grazing.  Of the arable, there's only one small field of rape I can think of and that's not getting any attention.  Normally when that field has got rape sitting over winter there's dozens of pigeons sitting up in the little spinney that overlooks it, and they're up and down like a tart's drawers all day long.  But at the moment, zilch!

I last shot a pigeon coming home to roost on the last Saturday of November!

Maybe there's been some sort of pigeon pandemic wiped a lot of them out?  Coovid-20 anyone?

🚕 🚖

Edited by Jim Neal
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I have a theory.

Before I retired in 2017 I was often out and about at silly O'clock walking my dogs before and after work. 0200, 0300 and such.

On the field outside my house I often encountered fox and badger which was the last time I saw hedgehog also. They where never bothered by me and even the biggest badger just used to amble away from me like it had all night.

So moving on four years. The trees on the field are now containing a mix of magpie, pigeon and crow.

The open space i walk by some masionettes often has pigeon on the ground and the flat roofs and little balconies are infested with fat pigeon. Some balconies have mesh over to prevent landing. But taking a short cut home, all you can hear is coo, coo.

Are the pigeon now becoming like the fox and badger before them dependant on waste products, bins and litter left by the uneducated or stupid. Or maybe being fed by the mad cat lady that leaves food out for the nice fox that visits her garden. 

Chips and pizza diet?

Wood pigeons now becoming urban pigeon?

Just a thought and observation, anyone else or am I way off?

Maybe the pigeon just visit the countryside for there daily exercise, right to ramble?

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Before  I moved we used to have a lot of days out on the buses using our free bus pass's , this was ideal as I could sit upstairs on a double decker and look around the countryside without having to worry about hitting the motor in front when I took my eyes off the road , many a time I would see little signs of Pigeon life around the fields but plenty in the small towns and villages , even now our village is full of Pigeons and in our garden the Wood Pigeon easily out number any other bird around our bird tables , looking at the size of some of them you would have to be a body builder to lift a sack  full of dead ones off a large field , still with the numbers I have shot of late , that is something I don't have to worry about .:lol:

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Just got home, left at 7am in freezing fog _2c only a 4 mile drive to rape field set up with magnet and 10 dead birds in cradles and a flapper visibility about  75 yards. Expecting the fog to clear by 9am according to the weather forecast 1st hour 4 birds for 6 shots, fog getting thicker, no wind but very cold. On retrieving the shot birds I noticed that the birds on the magnet had ice on their wings and head, so stopped it and cleaned them up. Between 9am &10am another 4 birds for 4 shots, the fog cleared slightly visibility now about 100 yards not a breath of wind. 10am to 11.30 a steady flow of singles and one double adding a further 12 birds to the bag, the fog still had not cleared. 11.30 to 12 not another bird time to pack up! So a nice mourning out for my daily exercise and self isolation and a few birds for the freezer, 😄

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3 hours ago, dead eye alan said:

Just got home, left at 7am in freezing fog _2c only a 4 mile drive to rape field set up with magnet and 10 dead birds in cradles and a flapper visibility about  75 yards. Expecting the fog to clear by 9am according to the weather forecast 1st hour 4 birds for 6 shots, fog getting thicker, no wind but very cold. On retrieving the shot birds I noticed that the birds on the magnet had ice on their wings and head, so stopped it and cleaned them up. Between 9am &10am another 4 birds for 4 shots, the fog cleared slightly visibility now about 100 yards not a breath of wind. 10am to 11.30 a steady flow of singles and one double adding a further 12 birds to the bag, the fog still had not cleared. 11.30 to 12 not another bird time to pack up! So a nice mourning out for my daily exercise and self isolation and a few birds for the freezer, 😄

Good result and in the conditions you were more than entitled to every one you got , we didn't have a lot of fog but it was easily the coldest morning of the Winter , ice inside and out on the windscreen and when I got moving it was minus three .

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15 hours ago, Centrepin said:

I have a theory.

Before I retired in 2017 I was often out and about at silly O'clock walking my dogs before and after work. 0200, 0300 and such.

On the field outside my house I often encountered fox and badger which was the last time I saw hedgehog also. They where never bothered by me and even the biggest badger just used to amble away from me like it had all night.

So moving on four years. The trees on the field are now containing a mix of magpie, pigeon and crow.

The open space i walk by some masionettes often has pigeon on the ground and the flat roofs and little balconies are infested with fat pigeon. Some balconies have mesh over to prevent landing. But taking a short cut home, all you can hear is coo, coo.

Are the pigeon now becoming like the fox and badger before them dependant on waste products, bins and litter left by the uneducated or stupid. Or maybe being fed by the mad cat lady that leaves food out for the nice fox that visits her garden. 

Chips and pizza diet?

Wood pigeons now becoming urban pigeon?

Just a thought and observation, anyone else or am I way off?

Maybe the pigeon just visit the countryside for there daily exercise, right to ramble?

I'm sure you're not wrong in as much as they are opportunistic when it comes to what humans accidentally or deliberately make available to them.

What is in their crops tells the story I suppose.  I always shoot the odd one that's full of bird table stuff, or what looks like the remnants of someone's sandwich, but I'd guess 95% contain what you'd call "natural" food.  But haven't really shot many to find out lately, I'll let you know when I do!

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