The Countryman's Weekly


October 27
07:06 2020

First trip to the coast bodes well for the season

By Harnser.

THE signs were looking favourable. More than a week of steady north-easterlies and a big tide due to peak at around dawn. Even though it was only September, the wind should have brought the first decent flush of birds to the coast, riding the breeze from their breeding and staging grounds in Scandinavia and northern Holland. Around high water I could reasonably expect to see something on or around the saltings. It was time for a first trip to the coast.

The wind nagged at me from the moment I opened the Land Rover door in the pre-dawn darkness. There was nobody else in the club car park, so I felt under no pressure as I pulled on my waders and fowling jacket, my dog dancing around me in excitement while I grabbed gun, cartridge belt and fowling bag and made ready for the long walk down to the marsh.

Autumn had arrived with a vengeance, and as I made my way along the track which led down to the sea wall, I zipped my jacket up tight and pulled down my hat against the wind.

Far in the distance, I could hear the sound of North Sea breakers grinding against the shingle bank, a low, rustling noise like wind blowing through poplar trees. The grazing marshes were devoid of cattle and I pushed open the gate, climbed the sea wall and dropped down to the saltmarsh beyond.


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