Mick’s post on Tail End Charlie, (5th August 2011) got me thinking about the seasonal visits we get from Geese, either going North or South. According to where they rest for any given period, fields can be carpeted in them as the geese stop to rest and feed on their long journeys. The signal defining feature of these birds, (apart from the tremendous and distinctive sound they make) is their pattern of flight. If you see a large number of birds flying in a ‘V’ formation, (and it can be quite a flock following leader birds)you are probably looking at geese in flight. They are not quiet, they will call in their inimitable manner.
Every year sportsmen arrive near where I live, about August-September time, mostly from abroad, in particular, from Italy and France for their hunting and shooting trips. The few that do not go fishing spend their time shooting geese and other birds. It has been true to say that the French shoot anything with feathers, which is why, very few birds have been seen in flight in parts of France. The Italians did not do much for their sporting reputations either. One year there was a general outcry at what can only be described as indiscriminate bird shooting. Many geese were found dead where they fell. While sporting activities in general are supported in rural parts of the UK, there are rules to follow, like not killing more livestock than can be bagged and used.
Whatever your views are about hunting sports, it is a thriving affair, but, not to the exclusion of appropriate regulations. Complaints were submitted to legal authorities about the amount of indiscriminate shooting, and the complaints were investigated. It was probably hard to deliver particular culprits to answer for their actions, however, the organisers of the events were taken to task. The incident that sparked off the complaints occurred many years ago. Since then, there has evidently been better control of hunting activities as no more complaints have been generated. I can assure you, they would be if the situation repeated itself.