The Countryman's Weekly


March 25
08:02 2020

A duck pond to die for!

By Wiltshire Man.

HERE in Wiltshire there are, proportionately, a lot of duck shooters and wildfowlers. The Severn estuary is not too far away and Poole harbour is within striking distance. Scotland and the Wash beckon if wild geese are to be chased, with the exception of Canadas which we have plenty of.

In Wiltshire there are ponds and stretches of water with duck potential. These are usually jealously guarded and often fed to attract more duck. Sometimes, just sometimes, all it takes is asking the farmer nicely and giving him the occasional bottle of brandy, the periodic brace of duck, and the pond is yours. Sharing never works, the pond has to be yours alone, otherwise the feeding and hard work will be in vain, only benefiting others or no one.

There’s a pond I know, a large, elongated and overgrown hideaway which was originally dug out of impermeable Weald Clay by the farmer as a carp fishing lake. It’s well away from walkers with their dogs and is a peaceful haven for duck during the day.

It sits in the middle of farmland which was once part of an extensive marsh, and I believe there is an inherent and inherited instinct for wildfowl to return to this reclaimed marsh, dating back millennia. After heavy rainfall the fields flood, and overnight back come the golden plover, lapwing, snipe, duck and even the tide-loving wigeon.


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