29 Oct Goose hunting trip brings success and great new aerial footage of Orkney.
Our recent goose hunting experiment on Orkney started successfully, but then we couldn’t find any more geese!
We set up a slip on the very first day at a small group of geese near the cottage we were staying in. Following her natural instincts, Ripley, the African Fish Eagle singled out the least energetic goose, and managed to make her first goose kill.
Close inspection later revealed that the goose had in fact had a shotgun pellet wound in one wing, so Ripley’s job had been made easier, but she still had to show commitment and tenacity. She did so very well, and we were encouraged that the rest of our two week trip would be very well rewarded.
However, despite assurances from the delightful owners of the holiday cottage we were renting, and local land owners who had given us permission to hunt on their land, that tens of thousands of geese were accumulating daily, after that first day, we literally couldn’t find any geese! The islands are known for the massive and damaging numbers of birds, but few were seen, and those we did see were in positions making them impossible to approach in a way that could set up a hunt. De drove the area extensively, but things didn’t improve. The first days of successful hunting, and the group of eagles both in our weathering lawn at the cottage, plus those being exercised daily seemed to have made the area a no fly zone for geese.
Forced to put goose hunting aside, we moved our activities to hunting rabbits with the hawks, and hares (of which there are massive numbers). This brought great success, but at a worrying cost. The fields are quite small on the islands, all boundaried by 4 or five strand barbed wire fences, topped with electric fence wire. There were a few incidences of a hawk or eagle clattering the fences, luckily with nothing more than a bruise to show for it. Our appetite for hunting ebbed away in the face of the risk, so we began spending time gathering on board footage from Marras camera rig.
The footage has been hugely popular so we thought we’d share it with our followers here. This is Marra flying over the Brough of Birsay. A small island, only accessible at low tide via a land bridge. The island enjoys only a lighthouse and sheep as residents, but has some spectacular sea cliffs.