I had a brief opportunity to get down to the lakes today. It turned out to be briefer than expected though.
After a short visit to the small wood by the river, where only a Kingfisher and a fly by Redshank were keeping the odd Cormorant company, I joined the sunken marsh path. I only walked a couple of yards when I came across two men and a young lad carrying a 12 bore shotgun. I recognised one of the shooters, as i'd spoken to him before sometime back. He's a pleasant enough chap so I stopped and asked them if they were going to be shooting now. They said they were going into the actual marsh area to see if they could get some ducks. They also asked me if i'd seen many about, which of course I hadn't and i'd hardly tell them if I had. I think everything had already been frightened off by the clay pigeon shooting on the other side of the river. I said to them that I wouldn't bother walking round the marsh, although they said they wouldn't be staying very long.
I walked the path round to the mound and took the picture above, warning of the imminent start to the work that would repair the burst main that we now know is the cause of the flooding. I then climbed the mound and watched the shooters as they and their two dogs crashed through the northern end of the marsh. I kept my fingers crossed that nothing would be flushed and shot, it seemed to work as they emerged on the far side without firing a gun.
Once again I found myself not in the mood to carry on my walk so I headed off around Brooklands lake hearing the inevitable sound of gunshot as I did so.
The dilemma I find myself in is whether I want to continue walking and birdwatching in an area frequented more and more lately by men with guns. As I said earlier this shooter seems to be a perfectly nice chap, I bear him no malice and i'm not a particularly hardliner when it comes to shooting. But I am firmly on the anti side of the fence with both feet. I just don't like it, I never will and I want no part of it, legal or not. Enough said.
As I made my way back to the car I stopped in at one of the fisherman's swims and accidentally flushed a Snipe (61) who made off with a loud 'squelch', luckily it didn't fly over the marsh.