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KCShlly

Ya don't see this everyday

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KCShlly

On Monday I headed to a nearby Jersey salt marsh, reached by a dirt road. I parked in a lot surrounded by a berm to keep the tides at bay. Nearby sat a truck, but with no one around.

As soon as I got out of the car I could hear a commotion on the other side of the berm, where I knew there was ditch. I could hear thrashing and splashing. Thinking it might be a crippled duck, I stood on my toes to look over the earthen berm.

That's when a damp and angry red-tailed hawk flew to the berm, not more than two feet from me. I got a haughty stare, and then he flapped to a nearby sign.

I edged to the berm and looked over. A clapper rail lay on its side. I swear the bird blinked as if to say, "Cripes, I'm alive." It stood up, walked a few steps and swam into the ditch.

Then I heard a drone coming from the south. It was a man in an ultralight skimming above the salt marsh, not more than 10 feet above the deck. The hawk, which had sat mantled on the sign to dry its wings, took off. Soon ducks started peeling out of the marsh, a few, then dozens and then huge bunches.

The pilot flew about a mile, gained altitude and began flying over the open bay as ducks resettled.

But then he came back around and once again skimmed the marsh, scattering waterfowl in his wake. But this time the birds headed for the safety of the bay, rather than landing back in the marsh.

The man, an off-duty Coastie, put the ultralight down on the dirt road and packed it into the truck I'd parked near.

Needless to say, I found exactly one distant duck in two hours of kayaking, but I really didn't mind.

I'd ruined the hawks' hunt; the pilot had ruined mine, but experiencing both was worth it.

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MOuplander
At least it makes for a good story.

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Brad Eden
Proof interesting things happen when a person gets off the couch and off the computer and heads outside.

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KCShlly

May take Dave and Tony to the same place for ducks after doodles tomorrow.

Watch out pilot....

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rprovines
Probably never been tested, but I'm betting the duck loads would wrok great for both pheasant and UL's. Field testing required. Post back here with results.

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