Reading the many reports of Woodcock coming in off the North Sea and the exhausted condition many were in took me back to Saturday afternoon.
The Lesser Grey Shrike got the day off to a brilliant start and watching The Stringer and J. S. putting out mealworms, showing concern for the welfare of the bird, lifted the spirits even higher. A more sombre mood later after John and I had visited Amble for lunch with the Gulls and we called off near Hadston Carrs to view the beach. Just before we got there, in the fields as we approached, we noticed three small groups of people with guns and gundogs on the edge of the wooded area facing the sea. Driving along the beach road we passed another couple of guys, again with guns and dogs, this time on the other side of the woods. On getting out of the car we were greeted with a cacophony of sound from the woods as a large party of killers and their accomplices screamed and yelled as their dogs barked and yelped and their guns discharged. The sight of Woodcock and Pheasant frantically taking to the skies in all directions, some of them disappearing from view as they headed out to sea, was a pitiful sight. I couldn't have believed that my heart could have sunken so low in such a short period of time at the behaviour of us humans. My mind went immediately to the poor Badgers and what those poor creatures have been going through recently.
I felt sick to my stomach.