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Outdoor Report: No ducks arrive with new storm

November 30, 2001|By AL KALIN, Special to this newspaper

Snow and Ross geese are continuing to arrive in the Imperial Valley but high hopes that the last surge of storms would bring more ducks only resulted in our current duck population moving further south.

Ducks are so scarce that if the trend keeps up nothing will be left by Christmas time.

For the first time in history no ducks were taken at Wister on Thanksgiving Day. It doesn't get any worse than that.

On Thanksgiving all the women in our house were up at 3 a.m. to start the preparation of the grand meal, so I slipped out at first light to do some bird watching. I worked my way north along the east side of the Salton Sea spotting the continuing rare tri-colored egret along the dike between Young and Lindsey roads. Just before I reached Black Rock I spotted a peregrine falcon and osprey in the same tree. The osprey was eating a fish he had just caught.

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At the pond near the entrance to Black Rock I watched a pair of red-breasted mergansers and a flock of robins.

Looking back toward the New River delta I discovered it had disappeared from view as a gigantic cloud of dust entered the Valley from the west. Racing back to the area I saw numerous flights of snow and Ross geese fighting the strong winds and flying at ground level on their way to the Westmorland refuge from Wister. After finding a good ambush spot in their line of flight I was able to bag a snow goose on the first shot and minutes later was lucky enough to finish my limit by dropping two Ross geese with one shot.

Pass shooting is an excellent way to bag geese when high winds develop, as long as you are in their flyway. Just don't drop any in a cotton field. They're a bear to find.

Junior hunters should remember the junior pheasant hunt slated for Dec. 8 and 9 is fast approaching. Call Warden Carol Sassie at 344-8139 if you want to participate.

>> If you would like to report your catch, Al Kalin can be reached on the Internet at akalin@quix.net

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