The euphoria exibited in my post last Sunday evaporated on Monday evening. Taking part in the latest count as one of a three man WEBS team on the reserve late afternoon/early evening on Monday everything was going swimmingly in the sun and heat until I spied movement on the farmland alongside part of the reserve.
A few weeks ago the farmer in question dug out and landscaped, quite nicely I must admit, a series of largish ponds, beginning just 80 yds from the reserve boundary fence and running out into his land. They also abut some land that he recently sold to SEEDA and part of which has been donated to the RSPB. I went round that way to where some guys were pumping water into the ponds from what was left in a ditch alongside. One of them came and spoke to me over the fence and introduced himself as someone who has leased the ponds off of the farmer with the intention of corn feeding them and so attracting wild ducks into them for the purposes of being shot by paying guests. It would appear that he saw the reserve, just a few yards away and flooded in winter with both water and wildfowl, as an ideal supplier of targets. I tried the emotional, isn't that a bit too close to a nature reserve and a tad immoral angle but he was having none of it - so that's it, once again the reserve is seen as something that is ideal for supplying targets, the exact same opinion that the Kent Wildfowlers members have on its opposite boundary on the saltings. It means that this winter, because of the reserve's narrowness, that wildfowl will find it difficult to get in and out of the reserve without being shot at. You will also find that both of these shooting groups will preach their conservation crudentials, especially the Kent Wildfowlers, which quite frankly is b..locks, which is the same response that I give to those birdwatchers that can see no wrong with duck shooters plundering nature reserves as they do in the Swale, and believe me there are some.