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Where Have all the Ducks Gone?
Marsh Musings
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We are in a duck vortex right now. There are essentially NO ducks in the Bottoms. We had a nice teal season and early duck season. I never cease to be amazed at the number of “out of state” tags and the volume and quality of gear, boats, dogs and vehicles these dedicated duck hunters bring to our marsh. Many times I see more tags from states other than Kansas. I attribute that to the wisdom of our local sportsmen who know when the resident ducks have become educated or gone south. Duane arrives from Saskatchewan and  tells me about the piles of ducks in the Dakotas and Nebraska that are on their way. I am always suspicious of his reports, but it does seem to pan out more often than not. We have played this game for a lot of years.
We are NOT in goose vortex. There are so many snows, blues, specs and Canada’s that it boggles the mind. From any parking lot in Great Bend you can hear the calls of the different geese as they go out to feed almost all day long. When 10,000 geese lift off and start calling in unison within a mile or so of my vehicle-- it takes my breath. It happens every morning about 7:30 or so, and it is well worth getting up to go see and hear them. Each species has a particular call, and when you have it figured out, the Sandhill Cranes will rattle by and throw you off.  
There are a fair number of gulls. Most common are the Ringed-bill Gulls, and they fly close and pose with no inhibitions at all. I enjoy taking pictures of gulls. They fly slow enough to allow me time to get a precise focus and angle like these images. I am anxious for the short-eared owls and eagles to get here. There are some eagles in Wichita and Lawrence, but I haven’t seen many yet. They will come with the ducks-- those great birds are never far from the dinner table.
Thanksgiving was so good with family and friends here in the area. I am continually grateful for the goodness of our people, the majesty of the Bottoms, and the gift of good health to be able to enjoy each day as it unfolds with all the surprises that Kansas and mother nature share with us. I hope you cherish them with me.