On the drive to the river, the stars were brightly shining; the temp was a balmy 31 degrees and the wind was light and variable. Got to love those weather forecasters! Have to tell the story of how Chad's forecast saved countless lives in Tucson.
Chad's first assignment with the Weather Service was in Tucson. His primary duty was as the Chief Hydrologist for the area. Hydrologist in the desert? You get 5" of moisture a year! Give me a break. Often when they do get rain they do get flash floods. Chad issued a flash flood warning for an arroyo (I think that is a ditch) that winds through several housing developments. It is a playground for kids and dirt bike enthusiasts. Everyone cleared the arroyo just before a four foot wall of water came racing down the valley.
We were all obviously very proud of him. He received many accolades from the residents of Tucson. They even held a parade for him....no they didn't but we were proud of him nonetheless. A few days later I asked him how he knew to issue the flash flood warning for that specific arroyo. Expecting some sort of complicated scientific explanation he said "I picked the boys up from soccer practice and on the way home there was water running across the road and I figured that when I get home I better issue a warning!" Gospel truth.
So back to the first day on the river. Saturday evening I drove down to the river. First thing I saw was 1500 mallards hitting a picked cornfield a mile down river from my blind. I drove to the Kiowa Refuge just south of Morrill, NE, and it was covered in mallards. On Friday it held 200. They can and do show up overnight.
I love blue sky mallards. The sun illuminating the iridescent green heads of the drake mallards is one of nature's most exquisite sites. And did we see green heads? The first two bunches of the day were each over 100 mallards. A hundred mallards at twenty yards is quite a sight. Taking only one fat greenhead from a bunch, my three gunners harvested their fifteen mallards by 9:30.
It was truly a magical first day.
Jeff Meyer's Sage, the best Chessie I have ever hunted with.