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About the wildlife on the island. My earliest memories of it started in 1943 with the sound of Curlew. There was always the sound of Curlew on the Island. In fact I still associate Canvey in my mind with that call...that and the fog.
At certain times of the year when the tide came in, I think it must have been autumn, the sky would turn black with massed flocks of Snipe. Then the Mallards would flutter in from somewhere further upriver and wheel around over the point and settle down to feed.
It was an awsome sight for a London lad to see.
Just after the war, about 1946, dad and one of his school buddies from London, Bert Mole, who I think started up a butchers shop on the Island somewhere, used to come down with shotguns and stay the weekend. It must have been legal.
Dad and Bert and Jacky Fenwick from down the Point would go out at night just before the tide came in and wait for the birds. They would sit in a hide and wait...then you'd hear the crack of the shotguns.
In the mornings we would wake up to find ducks, geese and snipe all hanging up on the coal cellar door next to the outside toilet out the back.
It kept us well fed for several years after the war because food was actually harder to get then than it was during the war.
I would guess all that duckshooting is banned by now.

By Stan Pierce
On 19/08/2008

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