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hoi kl marsh musing

Kansas got a bit of moisture with the snow fall this week.  I’m sure that the drought won’t be altered very much by this small amount, but it is a welcome start for the new year. Let’s hope we get more sooner than later.
I spent part of the holiday in San Francisco, part in Kansas City, and New Years Eve with friends and family in Hoisington. We should be very grateful for our health, and plan to increase our exercise programs this year.
Five parks in Kansas have a “hiking day” on the first day of the new year. I wonder why only five, and why it isn’t promoted more widely.  I am sure the parades and ball games on TV make couch potatoes out of most of us, but the thought of increasing our level of physical activity in the new year is a good idea and will help us drop a few pounds. A good way to enjoy some “educational exercise” in the snow is to pick a track and follow it. Try to find a coyote or bobcat and you might learn some of their secrets.
Bow season for  buck deer ended yesterday. I failed to harvest a  buck this year, but I did get a nice gobbler for Thanksgiving. There is a 12 or 13 day doe season for rifle or bow that is open as we speak. This is the opportunity to put meat in the freezer. I saw lots of does during bow season. Bucks are starting to drop horns, so be careful and don’t shoot one that has a small bloody spot above each eye....
We are in a bountiful time of year to see hawks, eagles and falcons. There are more rough-legged hawks around right now than is common for our area. One of my favorite birds is the kestrel. They are the smallest North American falcon(some people mistakenly call them a “sparrow hawk” like my friend from Saskatchewan who is here visiting does on a regular basis), and are numerous in Kansas right now. They sit on the telephone lines and hoover over their prey when hunting. This little guy was uncommonly cooperative for my camera.  
The only other news I have is a fishing report. The ice is thick enough to be safe at Glen Elder and Kirwin, and limits of crappie are not uncommon. We don’t really think about winter being a super time to catch fish, but that is a well kept secret for a few hardy souls that put a lot of great fish in the freezer during this season. Stay off the thin ice and check with lake officials if you have any concern.
Get out and go see the birds of prey—they are abundant, easy to watch, and elegant.  A good photo of one of these great birds is a treasure; I hope you all get to see them in action.
Lets make 2013 our best year yet!
Doc Witt is a retired physician and wildlife hobbyist.