Successful Volunteer Blind Clean-up Day at San Jacinto Wildlife Area

Today SoCalHunt participated in San Jacinto Wildlife Area’s volunteer blind clean-up day.

I was part of about 18 volunteers assisting the San Jacinto staff in getting the refuge’s blinds cleaned up from the just ended waterfowl season. We met at the check station at 7 am and were sent out, plastic bags in hand, throughout the refuge to clean up all the spent shell, wads or other miscellaneous trash we could manage to find in and around the blinds.

The day started out slightly foggy and cool and as we dispersed out through the refuge we could see that many ducks were still using the refuge, in fact I believe there were probably more birds on San Jacinto today then there were at the end of the season. As the day progressed the sun broke out and it became a gorgeous day.

It was nice to once again get out into the wildlife area. As I mentioned already, many ducks were still in the area and the scenery, as usual, was wonderful. Wildflowers were already beginning to get a jump on spring and were beginning to display their colors across the landscape. This is a bonus that we usually don’t get to see during the waterfowl season, as the wildflowers are dormant that time of year. The ducks in the refuge were not quite as cautious as they were during the season and many flew by well within range, camera range of course, providing some nice views and a few nice photographs. If you need to brush up on bird ID on the wing it might be worth a visit to San Jacinto this time of year.

The San Jacinto Staff has begun to draw the water down on some of the ponds in preparation for working on the blinds, water control structures, planting of food for the birds and whatever else needs to be done to prepare for next season. The ponds I was assigned to work on were down slightly, maybe a foot or a little more, but still had plenty of water in them. The only pond I saw that looked like it was down substantially was the “G” pond, which is a fairly shallow pond in the first place.

I was assigned to clean up one of the blinds in the “E” ponds, one in the “A” ponds and two in the “B” pond. In addition to the usual collection of empty shells and wads I removed a couple of decrepit decoys, a broken folding chair, a pair of chest waders off an island blind (I wonder how the hunter got off the island?) and a duck call that wasn’t in too bad a shape.

After cleaning up my assigned area I made a few stops to observe and photograph on my way back out to the check station. There were many ducks in the ponds I passed on the way out. I saw buffleheads, green wing teal, pintails, cinnamon teal, gadwalls and, of course, the ever-present northern shovelers.

After the clean up the SJ Staff and the volunteers met at Casa Mexicana for a well-deserved lunch before we parted ways for the day.

The next event at San Jacinto will be a Hunter’s Safety class some time in April. Keep your eye on SoCalHunt for an announcement on that when the date is set.

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