The ducks are pairing up at the Bottoms!!! Blue-winged teal have to ramp up their reproductive efforts-- according to I-bird info( is this internet not amazing?), Blue-winged teal have the highest mortality rate (about 65%) of all the dabbling ducks. Some make a long, over-water migration, and they are hunted by fellows like me that enjoy smoked duck on the grill. The early teal season has long been a special occasion-- it was the highlight of the year for Jonathan and me for a long time. The white face patch is only present in the breeding season. I have always wished that the powers-that-be would allow the collection of just one duck in their beautiful spring plumage-- but I do clearly understand the negative aspects of that idea. There are cinnamon teal and green-winged teal also that come through the Bottoms. I haven’t seen a Cinnamon yet this year, but I’m sure one will pop up. I have seen several Green-winged teal.
We have some very important events occurring and I would be negligent if I didn’t encourage everyone to attend some of them. Paul Griffin is a superbly talented videographer. On April 6 at 3 p.m. he will present a program at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center on the Snowy Owls that visit Kansas. He is tenacious and talented, and suffered some to get this elegant video of several of the Snowy Owls in 2011. This is one that I can hardly wait to see. Following that program, the Friends of Cheyenne Bottoms will have a burger and brat event and their annual meeting.
Please join that group. They work so hard to provide programs for the kids and provide support for programs at the Bottoms and KWEC. They REALLY love your kids and every grade school in Barton County is able to attend their programs. I hope to see everyone there. I will have some Canadians here hunting turkeys with bows and arrows, and plan to bring them with me to the programs. If you have never had a conversation with one of them, here is your chance. It is still below 0 in Saskatchewan, so their jaws might still be frozen when they get here. They say “eh” and eat perogee sandwiches, and watch Curling on the tele... Please don’t mention hockey..... OMG!!! They are wonderful friends and have been coming for several years-- it is one of my personal highlights.
Please note that Karl and his crew protect carefully the brushy edges of the roads at the Bottoms. I may ask him to discuss all the critters and birds that use that habitat for a nesting area one of these days. Watch that magic edge carefully when you tour-- no telling what you might see. The water is starting to drop some-- a good rain would certainly be welcome. We don’t need any more of that 60 mph wind-- it sucks water out way too fast. Go see the love birds and if you look carefully you will spot a nest. Shore birds are coming-- excitement is in the air!!!
Doc Witt is a retired physician and avid outdoorsmen.