Well, last week I saw only ringbills so I decided to change locations to see if I could come across different species. I got to the landing around 4:45 as the end of daylight savings made earlier mornings for all of us and since I was putting out over 5 dozen decoys by myself, I knew I had my work cut out for me. The blocks were set around 6:00 and about that time another group showed up and started driving my way. I shined my light at them and they stopped. I assume they were gonna hunt where I was and needed to re-evaluate their plan.
As shooting time came, a nice drake hoody landed in the spread, but I decided to leave him be. The group to the Northeast of me had a few shots, but didn't really kick anything my way. About 10 minutes later a hen bluebill landed in the decoys and I scared her up to shoot, but failed to connect. Then a NICE group of bills came from behind and circled to my right to lower the altitude and come in. Crappy part for me is they swung a little to far out and went near the other group so the three of them shot but dropped nothing, but that meant they would not be coming my way anytime soon.
By now, it was about 8:00 and I was seeing nothing so I decided to make breakfast (I planned for a long day so brought eggs and bacon to keep me warm). In the middle of cooking, I look up and see two goldeneye set for my spread. I was able to get my gun and shoot. I aimed at the front one, and the back bird fell. I guess that tells me how far behind I am. Once it hit the water it instantly disappeared under water. I thought this would end up in a long chase...but about 10 seconds later he floated belly up. I then looked behind and saw a group of 10 more goldeneye flairing off. I guess I shoulda waited for the two to land and the rest woulda followed.
After breakfast, I needed to take a leak, so I stepped over my blind and proceeded to relieve myself. I had moved my gun just in case a bird came by...but when I looked to my left in midstream, I wasn't able to grab my gun fast enough to take the drake bluebill that was set to my spread. Now, I am pissed off cause I didn't get the bird and pissed on because, lets face it- stopping mid stream sucks. Anyway, I hoped he would turn around, but no luck. Fortunately, I looked behind him and saw a mallard setting into the spread. I was able to crouch down with my gun and let her come in. I hit her on the first shot, but she wouldn't fall. Kept on her as she was flying away and her wings locked up and she fell. I was glad it wasn't a diver as she landed about 150 yards out and would have been insane to chase if it was. As I was driving up to get her, she was dead and I was happy to see it was a mature nice color hen. I was even happier when I pulled her up and she had jewelry! This is the first band that I have gotten on my own in over 20 years (I shared a band kill with my brother on a bw teal when I was 15).
After I got back and set up, it seemed almost like I was meant to limit out. Two bufflehead came in locked and I knocked them both down, and then a flock of 10 ringbill came in and I was able to take a nice drake out of there. I didn't see a ton of birds, but it was one of the most memorable hunts I will ever have. I was lucky to have favorable conditions- wind blowing diagonally out from my back left and bright sun to my back. All of the birds wanted in to the spread.
I wish I could say a migration was coming down, but I'm not sure I can. I did see about 200 divers about 150 yards high flying north to south... migrating I suppose.
Quoted from my wife while I am tapping on my iPad, "Are you talking about ducks again?"