‘There is plenty ducks’

September 30 is the last day in the book that Carruthers is allowed to believe he really is on a duck shooting holiday, and not a spying mission. Finally, he gets to unpack his Lancaster (and specialist cartridges) to bag something for his dinner.

“It was just dusk when we sallied out again, crossed a stretch of bog-land, and took up strategic posts round a stagnant pond. Hans had been sent to drive, and the result was a fine mallard and three ducks.”

The bog-land described here is now part of the Oehe-Schleimünde sea-bird sanctuary, so I’m guessing we won’t be allowed to come along and take pot-shots. We will though be able to spot several kinds of duck.

Oehe-Schleimünde sea-bird sanctuary

Lloyd presumed we’d be mainly looking out for eider ducks since the Eider river is not far from here. But word has it that eiders aren’t great eating – a bit too muddy and salty. According to my ‘U.S. Forces Guide to Hunting in Germany  (this is the kind of material I’ve ended up reading now), it’s far more likely that what we need to find are pochards. Germans call them ‘tafelente’, the ‘tafel’ bit meaning ‘dining table’, so we can be pretty sure they’re tasty.

Common pochards actually spend a lot of their time in the UK, migrating annually from Russia. Carruthers could just as easily have gone to Norfolk or Scotland for his shooting holiday. These days he might have to revise what kind of shot he uses since under the terms of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), it’s no longer acceptable to  use any lead at all in your cartridges.

For the armchair adventurers amongst us, there’s an even easier way of bagging pochard for dinner, of course. Simply order it from http://www.exoticmeats.co.uk/.

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