One of my favourite ducks on our quarry list are teal, and although small in stature they more than make up for this in their aerial ability. None of our other duck, residential or migratory, have that explosive turn of speed once disturbed. Although they breed here, they do so in relatively small numbers, probably a couple of hundred pairs or so and mainly confined to the north-west of our wee Isle. That said, I have, on occasion, come across small family groups hereabouts from late August onwards, which I’m pretty sure must have bred locally.
From early September onwards, depending on weather conditions in Scandinavia and other northern climes, winter migrants will flock to our shores to overwinter. They are normally the first of our migrants to arrive and, probably due to their smaller size, are more susceptible to extremes of weather. One can almost tell what the weather is like further north by what numbers arrive and the timing of such arrivals.
I am always quite amused by game shooters hereabouts and their attitude to teal. While some travel far and wide to locate these wonderful aerobatic ducks, others are quite nonplussed, preferring their larger cousins at every opportunity.
I for one will always be a fan, and any night spent in their company is always eventful and exciting. What better way to spend a winter’s evening than nestled among some reeds awaiting that tell-tale pipping which signifies that the first battalions are on the way. Once the pipping stops, ready your gun for within seconds they will fill the sky all around before departing once again with even greater gusto.
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RSPB gives mixed message on shooting
Having recently attended the RSPB’s virtual AGM, Conor O’Gorman discusses the outcome of the charity’s year-long review of game bird shooting
Causeway for concern
Alan Jarrett’s renewed interest in reading takes him down memory lane to an offshore island duck flight that very nearly ended in disaster
Through a purple patch
The Garrows Estate is taking a conservation-focused approach to restoring the wildlife populations and biodiversity on the Scottish heather moorland.
When the wheels fall off
Losing form on a day’s shooting can be infuriating, especially if you’ve been shooting like a god up to that point. Simon O’Leary looks at some common causes and how to remedy them
Beaches, books & bad behaviour!
The annual Kay family vacation to Northumberland offers a chance to give the cockers a blast on the beach – although they don’t always shower themselves in glory, as Ryan Kay recalls...
Using the Stop whistle
Now you’ve instilled the basics, it’s time to up the ante with some more tricky distance work. Howard Kirby explains how to take the core Stop whistle command to the next level
The humble teal
They may be tiny, but as far as Rupert Butler is concerned, the appeal of this little duck is huge. He recalls some of his most memorable nights in pursuit of these aerial acrobats
Mike is impressed with the Fabarm Elos B2 Field Notte, which offers great value for money, is suited to fieldwork or clays and is future-proofed for use with steel in all choke constrictions
CALL OF THE WILD
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A yen for the Fens
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Cruise amid the remote beauty of Greenland.
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PADDLE THE DESERT
Can a group of novice packrafters make it out of Canyonlands in one piece?
ARCTIC TORTURE TEST
Driving the 2020 Alcan 5000 Winter Rally in a ’20 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4
Solo race to the Arctic
A new race to the Arctic in July is to be run for the IMOCA 60 class as a qualifier for the Vendée Globe round the world race in November.
MY MID-LIFE CRISIS AS A RUSSIAN SAILOR
For a book project about 16th-century polar explorer William Barents, ANDREA PITZER needed to reach the remote Arctic island where he and his men came to grief. She booked passage on an expeditionary boat out of Murmansk, then headed north on a trip marked by unforgettable scenery,unexpected loss, and wild magic that changed her life.
WINTER AT 66° N
AN ORDINARY BOAT CAN ENABLE EXTRAORDINARY THINGS.SKIER AND SAILOR JUHO KARHU HAS SPENT TWO WINTERS IN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE ON BOARD HIS BENETEAU IDYLLE.