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A VERY MIXED BAG ON THE MARSH


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After some time stuck in the house I needed to get out and check the newly cut rape on the marsh, most of it was still stubble and some areas had quite a few birds moving around, but the main concentration of birds was on a small field next to the stubble that has been ploughed and harrowed, it was covered in a mix of crows and pigeons, 

I watched for some time to establish any flight lines but it was just a general movement across the field without any particular hot spot, so I chose a place in the long grass with the wind at my back and set out 10 dead pigeons , 2 on the magnet, and 4 flocked plastic crows.

There were dozens of feral pigeons moving around in large groups, I don't normally waste cartridges on them but with a bag full , and not having been out for a while I needed the practice , so decided to bag a few when they presented over the decoys,

Rooks and Jackdaws were coming in small groups and I soon started to get the numbers up, wood pigeons were few and far between but there were just enough to keep me keen, the first 4 on the ground were feral but then a couple of woodies and 3 crows came very quickly, from then on it was a good steady stream of birds , most turning across the decoys and presenting perfectly, thankfully my aim was good and I was kept busy running out to tidy up birds that had dropped either on their backs or with wings sticking up like warning flags.

The  day was overcast from 12 noon up to around 3.30 but then the clouds cleared and a very welcome bit of warm sunshine brightened up the late afternoon, there was a fairly light breeze from directly behind me for most of the afternoon but it did move around to my right side for the last couple of hours, but not enough for me to worry about moving the decoys as the birds kept coming regardless.

High points of the session were 3 woodies with one shot, then 2 rooks with  a single shot and finally 3  jackdaws which had landed in a straight line and again one shot took all three out in one go, at least the extras made up for some horrendously bad misses on some of the easiest birds  but that is something I have learned to accept now I am getting on a bit and my eye sight and reactions are definitely on the decline .

It was around 6.00 when I decided to clear up, still good light and a few birds still moving around but I had enjoyed a good session and had not eaten all day, just managing on my usual flask of sweet coffee. it took almost an hour to pick up all the birds and pack the car but the final tally was 25 feral pigeons picked with around 5 lost in the undergrowth, 16 woodies with everyone accounted for, 11 rooks 9 jackdaws and to my surprise a hooded crow, only the second I have ever shot in all my years of pest control. 61 picked with just 5 lost but definitely down, so a decent 66 bird day . Photo's show most but I did pick a few after I cleared up and had a long walk to find them.

 

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Great report, glad to see you've had some sport - and you're not wrong about a very mixed bag!

Could that be some sort of record for the amount of 3-fors and 2-fors in one session?  I'd challenge anyone else to come up with better.

 

I don't want to open a can of worms, but the hooded crow you report is presumably the one on its own sort of in the middle?  I couldn't help wondering if it's a semi-leucistic rook, because it looks the same size as the rooks but crows are bigger?  I've seen hooded crows quite close up and they're big old things!  Difficult to tell when they're full of lead face down in the ground though :D

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Nice read, excellent write up I enjoyed that. It's been a while since I have been out and I'm itching to go again, when I read about days like this it makes me want to go all the more.

What do you do with the corvids?, I have loads of them on my permission but I have always been reluctant to go for them as I don't like to see things wasted.

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Another great report from Alan as we are now coming to expect , one of very few posters of late who put the details into there days sport, surely at this time of the year there must be plenty of members who have a day out with the gun and can tell us all about it , or is there ?

During my earlier years I enjoyed decoying Rooks , Jackdaws and Crows , treating Starlings as practise instead of clay pigeons , then we started Pigeon decoying and when the sale of Pigeons were in great demand we often took a sack full up of feral pigeons to the dealers and got paid the price of a small Wood Pigeon which at the time would be half price when Pigeons were making 40p each .

When Starlings went off the shooting list and chucking the bag away after a session on the Corvids lost it's appeal, we then very rarely shot anything if it was wasted , this is not to say there is anything wrong with shooting vermin and then dumping it as the numbers need to be kept in order but it just don't do anything for me, now when the demand have hit rock bottom for selling Wood Pigeons who will carry on shooting big bags and then dumping the bag ?, I am not talking about bags of say less than 50 as they can normally be used or given away , bags of over 50 at this time of the year need to cool off and go in the freezer , or used within a day or two after being shot ,  I know one who won't shoot and waste them and there must be several more out there who feel the same way . 

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On 19/08/2021 at 23:12, Jim Neal said:

Great report, glad to see you've had some sport - and you're not wrong about a very mixed bag!

Could that be some sort of record for the amount of 3-fors and 2-fors in one session?  I'd challenge anyone else to come up with better.

 

I don't want to open a can of worms, but the hooded crow you report is presumably the one on its own sort of in the middle?  I couldn't help wondering if it's a semi-leucistic rook, because it looks the same size as the rooks but crows are bigger?  I've seen hooded crows quite close up and they're big old things!  Difficult to tell when they're full of lead face down in the ground though

Hi Jim, most of the crows are carrions so quite large, I think there were only 3 rooks in the bag , the hooded crow was indeed much larger than the rooks and had the very black beak , not the grey upper section like rooks, the first thing I noticed when I picked it up was the size, it did seem so much bigger than even the carrions, but thanks for the input , 

 

On 21/08/2021 at 13:33, dead eye alan said:

I very seldom shoot anything other than woodys, just because I can do nothing with corvids or ferrules. Nice report of a good days shooting. 

I am with you 100% Alan, I always feel a bit disappointed if I don't get the majority of a session on woodie's, on this particular area of marsh the wood pigeons have had a tough time over the last 3 years or so, when I started shooting it there were large numbers , some groups in the hundreds if not 1000+, but with lock down several local shooters had access and particularly last year the birds were well and truly hammered, In the first and second years my best days were 2 @ 70+ and several over 60 but I have been resting it this year in the hope they would build up again but unfortunately  other shooters have not let up, I don't think the birds have been shot but simply moved away to safer areas, so now I only go once in while to reduce the ferals and get a measure of the wood pigeon numbers.

Edited by lakeside1000
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On 19/08/2021 at 22:25, lakeside1000 said:

After some time stuck in the house I needed to get out and check the newly cut rape on the marsh, most of it was still stubble and some areas had quite a few birds moving around, but the main concentration of birds was on a small field next to the stubble that has been ploughed and harrowed, it was covered in a mix of crows and pigeons, 

I watched for some time to establish any flight lines but it was just a general movement across the field without any particular hot spot, so I chose a place in the long grass with the wind at my back and set out 10 dead pigeons , 2 on the magnet, and 4 flocked plastic crows.

There were dozens of feral pigeons moving around in large groups, I don't normally waste cartridges on them but with a bag full , and not having been out for a while I needed the practice , so decided to bag a few when they presented over the decoys,

Rooks and Jackdaws were coming in small groups and I soon started to get the numbers up, wood pigeons were few and far between but there were just enough to keep me keen, the first 4 on the ground were feral but then a couple of woodies and 3 crows came very quickly, from then on it was a good steady stream of birds , most turning across the decoys and presenting perfectly, thankfully my aim was good and I was kept busy running out to tidy up birds that had dropped either on their backs or with wings sticking up like warning flags.

The  day was overcast from 12 noon up to around 3.30 but then the clouds cleared and a very welcome bit of warm sunshine brightened up the late afternoon, there was a fairly light breeze from directly behind me for most of the afternoon but it did move around to my right side for the last couple of hours, but not enough for me to worry about moving the decoys as the birds kept coming regardless.

High points of the session were 3 woodies with one shot, then 2 rooks with  a single shot and finally 3  jackdaws which had landed in a straight line and again one shot took all three out in one go, at least the extras made up for some horrendously bad misses on some of the easiest birds  but that is something I have learned to accept now I am getting on a bit and my eye sight and reactions are definitely on the decline .

It was around 6.00 when I decided to clear up, still good light and a few birds still moving around but I had enjoyed a good session and had not eaten all day, just managing on my usual flask of sweet coffee. it took almost an hour to pick up all the birds and pack the car but the final tally was 25 feral pigeons picked with around 5 lost in the undergrowth, 16 woodies with everyone accounted for, 11 rooks 9 jackdaws and to my surprise a hooded crow, only the second I have ever shot in all my years of pest control. 61 picked with just 5 lost but definitely down, so a decent 66 bird day . Photo's show most but I did pick a few after I cleared up and had a long walk to find them.

 

IMG_20210819_184434.jpg

IMG_20210819_184446.jpg

Good day out by the looks of things on my perm 550 acres very few  my problem is Red Kites and Buzzards all around  the land has good spinneys but nothing in there,the poor ol' farmer not really started what with the weather and his combine down so going friday to have another go, going to console myself next week at Geoffs Newport chippie  down that way for 5 days so always pop in 2 or 3 times then go and park up at California .

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14 hours ago, lakeside1000 said:

Hi Jim, most of the crows are carrions so quite large, I think there were only 3 rooks in the bag , the hooded crow was indeed much larger than the rooks and had the very black beak , not the grey upper section like rooks, the first thing I noticed when I picked it up was the size, it did seem so much bigger than even the carrions, but thanks for the input ,

Ah OK I'm just comparing size-wise, your original post seemed to indicate the back row of birds were rooks not crows.  Anyway, no matter, you knocked plenty down and had a good day :)

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