Stillwater News Press

Outdoors

April 12, 2014

Hawks throwing a change to geese

STILLWATER, Okla. — The compass for the season to come is well in place and many signs that indicate life is good are absent.

We need rain. For the goose that needs the island, the morel mushrooms that want to grow, the wild fires that threaten our homes; we need rain.

The pond that has the island that geese prefer to nest on behind my home is dry. The geese that came to see if it was a good place to raise their young chose another place to nest. This is the second year they didn’t nest on the island.

They should be nesting right now and they haven’t been by to see us in three weeks. Each night on my drive home I see a lone goose in a field on the east side of town. He has a mate that is absent and so are my geese.

The first year I thought it was because a pair of red shouldered hawks decided to make their nest in the crotch of the largest pecan tree by the ponds. It was a logical progression. The hawks found the area suitable, and the geese had visions of their young being snatched up and eaten.

I have seen the hawks several times this year. They hang around in the winter and travel far and wide to forage. They get very vocal in the spring, and many times over the last month I have heard them when outside.

This week the spotting scope came out to take a look at the female nesting high above the ponds. But she wasn’t there. Neither was the nest.

With a recent bit of rain, Thursday I figured that a stroll through some of my backyard mushroom spots would yield a few for dinner. Fresh stories of diligent mushroom hunters have been indicating that some can be found. My walk was in vein.

This isn’t all gloomy. I have to admit that I have seen a species that nests in or area that is more plentiful than previously thought. Woods ducks. A recent wildfire on Clay Road east of Stillwater shed light to a thriving group of wood ducks.

Between the fire, helicopters and commotion, I saw over 15 wood ducks flying around. I believe these ducks are local residents. I can deal with cycles of life for now, but we still need rain.

So this year the compass shall read no hawk and no goose, but when will we get rain of any significance?

Spawning moon is near

Spool up the reels, fishing action is getting good. Sand bass anglers have water temperatures in the mid-50s and a full moon is near. If fish have enough water to get to where they want to be, this is the spawning moon. Waterways that produce regular water flows due to power generation are spots that will have sand bass stacked up and in the mood to spawn. Upper reaches of river or creek arms in the lakes should also be stacked up with sand bass.

Reports of paddle fish snagging have been hit and miss. In some water ways, paddle fish are stuck waiting for water levels to rise. They wait, forced to sit in pools that should only be used as staging points for the spring spawning migrations.

Turkeys

Give the afternoon and evening a try. Gobblers are still tending plenty of hens, but the hens patterns are taking them away from the big boys more and more each day. Frustration for the gobbler is bound to set in.

Jon Kocan is an outdoor columnist for the Stillwater News Press. Kocan is a long-time local hunter. Email Kocan at jkocan@stwnewspress.com

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