SoCalHunt SJ Hunting Report 11/1/17

Today SoCalHunt returned, once again, to San Jacinto Wildlife Area for another try at a solo afternoon refill hunt.  The bird counts for the last two hunt days weren’t very good but the weather had been unusually hot and calm on those days so today, with temperatures predicted to be nearly 30 degrees lower than last Wednesday, there was hope that more ducks would be flying today.

When I made my way up to the Check Station to check in and get my name on the refill list I was again very surprised to see the extremely short refill list.  Today’s refill last had only 5 hunting parties ahead of me 3 of them had already refilled by the time I signed up.  Although there were some blind available I opted to wait a while to see if one of my old favorites would become available and in pretty short order one of them did check in and I was on my way to my blind.

I should note that as I waited for my blind to come in several hunting parties checked in and it didn’t look good.  Most were bringing in maybe 1 Teal or a couple Coots or a big goose…. egg (aka zero), so it didn’t look good if the morning shoot was that slow but I was already here so I was going out to give it a try, no matter what.

I arrived at my blind and set up and was hunting by about 11:45 am.  The conditions were much better than last week, with the temperature being in the mid to high 60’s, but there was no wind and the clouds covering most of the sky earlier this morning were quickly burning off, resulting in a completely clear and calm sky not long after I arrived.

About a half hour after I arrived I heard shooting from a couple ponds over, then the next pond over, then from the blind at the far end of the pond my blind was in. Seconds later I observed the cause of all the commotion, a lone Shoveler drake trying to get outta Dodge, and he passed by my blind probably about 75+ yards out, just a little too far for a shot.

Just under an hour later the neighboring blind opened up again and seconds later a hen Spoony, following just about the same exact route as the previous duck, flew by out of range.  Again, just too far to even try a shot.

Just after 2 pm, I saw birds heading right for my blind, and, if they kept their present altitude, they’d be well within range in a few seconds.  But, unfortunately, they weren’t ducks but a small flock of Ibis that flew nearly right over my blind.  At least I got a couple good pictures of those birds.

As always, there were other activities going on around the blind to keep my interest.  A Black Phoebe spent a great deal of time flitting around the reeds and bushes across from my blind, chasing insects.  Of course, the ever-present Coots were in attendance (legal game if you want to take them but I don’t) splashing around, diving for food and fighting with each other.  A Sora Rail was also busily pecking about the adjacent shoreline trying to come up with lunch.

There were also other things in the air today.  The Riverside Sheriff’s helicopter flew over the Wildlife Area a couple times, likely going out and coming back from some type of call.

Well, unfortunately, the two Spoonies were the only ducks I even saw today.  Except for them, the ski was pretty much devoid of waterfowl.  Perhaps it’s too early in the season and not much migration has taken place yet to bring some new birds into San Jacinto. However, as the sun set, I was still thankful for another day in the marsh but it would be nice to bag a couple birds occasionally. Hopefully next time.

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