against the glimmering, lightening dawn. I picked up the gun.
Rush of heavy wings
A second later there came a rush of heavy wings. Seven or eight dark forms swept low overhead, circled and came up into the wind. The gun swung up and, as the flash cut the half-light, a mallard crashed into the water. The second barrel cut down another. Soapy plunged through the reeds like a tiger, smashed through a fringe of ice and was out into those deep, dark waters, swimming like a gunboat, that villainous tail brandishing triumphantly in his wake. A dog with the heart of a lion, the sea-sense of a Viking.
In an instant that whole marsh around was alive with the hoarse quacking of mallard, the thin whistle of teal, the splash of ducks taking off, the whistle of wings and the sky was patterned by trips and bunches of fowl flying back and forth. Pipings and whistles made a pandemonium of sound. High above the clamour came the hoarse “fraa-aank” 46 • SHOOTING TIMES & COUNTRY MAGAZINE