8:35 a.m. Always!
No sooner out of the blind than a flight of blackheads came in right over the
stool. They must have come from up the creek, behind me as I walked down the
shore. My first consciousness was of the flight sound as they went past,
low-pitched and soft, yet somehow instantly audible over the roar of the wind
and the splash of waves breaking against the bank. No way to describe that
sound—a little like the tearing of old silk, but that fails to suggest the
excitement that it arouses. No other sound comes so close to stopping my heart,
except, perhaps, the unexpected flush of a grouse in the suddenly broken
silence of the deep woods. A man hunts less for birds than for those
Got the boat out
far enough so that it will stay afloat. Heaved a long stern line with a
8:50 a.m. Teased a
baldpate drake in three times, using a tin dog whistle for a call. Never got
him within range, though, and he wound up pitching in off Cedar Point.
9 a.m. Temp. 21�F.
Wind: N 20 mph
Amazing how the
temperature holds, only one degree variation in two hours. There must be an
enormous reservoir of constant temperature air behind this wind. Ought to read
some good new book on meteorology.
9:11 a.m. Two big
flights up the river, both looking for some place to set down, but neither
turned into this cove.
9:23 a.m. Saw some
geese get up from Remington Farms and, almost simultaneously, heard a string
behind me. In less than two minutes there were geese everywhere, all rising as
if to the same cue. What signals them into the air?
9:40 a.m. Tried to
make a count of all visible geese. Took a wild guess at 2,000, thinking I was
probably low, but when I checked it out, there were under 500—23 strings with
an estimated average of 20 birds.
Geese very high,
climbing and climbing as they head for open water. Saw only two bunches drop,
both in the same field. When the first went in there was a terrific
cannonading, and then the second string set their wings but flared off at the
last minute. Probably caught the gunners off base, out of the blind, picking up
their first birds. Geese are strange critters. Once they start using a field,
they keep coming despite hell or high water. Not always a matter of feed. We
had them last year in that plowed field, day after day, not feeding, not even
picking up gravel. Watched them for two hours through the glasses one day and
never saw a bird's head go down.
10 a.m. Temp.
23�F. Wind: NW 20 mph