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My Summer Project

woodduck

5 year old buck +
You must be batting 100 on nest box use.
As of 4 days ago mine were vacant. There have been a pair woodies on the pond the last few days so hopefully I'll have some tenants soon.
 

H20fwler

5 year old buck +
You must be batting 100 on nest box use.
As of 4 days ago mine were vacant. There have been a pair woodies on the pond the last few days so hopefully I'll have some tenants soon.


Yep they are at 100% right now with setting hens, it seems early this year. The hooded mergansers are a newer phenomenon, I sure don't mind seeing them. I'm going to try and keep an eye on the boxes so I can get them cleaned out right after jump day and hopefully get a second round in some.

Lots of woodies here right now more should be heading your way soon it hit 77 here this afternoon. Seeing bluewings and shovelers coming through now too. Hopefully your boxes will fill up soon!
 

woodduck

5 year old buck +
Yep they are at 100% right now with setting hens, it seems early this year. The hooded mergansers are a newer phenomenon, I sure don't mind seeing them. I'm going to try and keep an eye on the boxes so I can get them cleaned out right after jump day and hopefully get a second round in some.

Lots of woodies here right now more should be heading your way soon it hit 77 here this afternoon. Seeing bluewings and shovelers coming through now too. Hopefully your boxes will fill up soon!

I walked down and checked a couple hours ago but still no dice. I don't get the ducks you do. I'll get some hoodies that stop but never stay. I had a pair of green wings spend the day last spring and that was a first that I've seen. I put a mallard hen house up last year because I've had mallards nest unsuccessfully in the past but they haven't used it yet. A few pairs of resident geese spend the day quite often. It is early yet so im sure they will start nesting in soon.
 

H20fwler

5 year old buck +
Went out to farm yesterday with the oldest son for an hour or so to give the fish a try and work the dogs in water. Oldest son caught the FIRST ever bass out of our pond, looks like they have been eating very well. Caught two and they were fat little footballs. I was wondering how much growth they had put on since stocking last spring and was very happy with it. I was using a top water weedless frog and had two bass get off short striking but did get a bunch of hand sized sunfish.

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Fishing was made more of a challenge with sons dog Lou not wanting to stay out of the water. We wanted to work her with Darcy on taking turns and staying put while the other retrieved and that worked out decent after a few tries. Dogs had a blast and I was really happy with the bass growth.

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Bill

Administrator
Wow. If that was a fingerling last year it did put on some growth...
 

H20fwler

5 year old buck +
Wow. If that was a fingerling last year it did put on some growth...

They were 4"ish when put in last spring, I would say they are a good 9"-10" and close to a pound now, very chubby! I was just hoping that some survived and would be around 8" I was pleasantly surprised by how they have done.
 

swampyankee

Yearling... With promise
Out here We have problems with the hoodies killing hen wood ducks and taking over the boxes.
 

H20fwler

5 year old buck +
Out here We have problems with the hoodies killing hen wood ducks and taking over the boxes.

I hadn’t heard of that before, I will have to watch for that. I’ve seen the dump nests where a bunch of eggs get piled up.
The hoodies usually show up real early in spring and start setting weeks before the wood ducks.
Having nesting hoodies used to be rare here now it is getting way more common us to see them. This spring I saw more mergansers on our pond in bigger flocks than ever before. Used to be just a couple pair moving through. I figure they like the cover and all the small fish and tadpoles.
I need to get motivated and put a couple cameras close to the boxes and see if there is any competition trouble in spring. I know that as soon as chicks hatch out a new hen seems to start nesting within days and I hardly get a chance to clean out boxes and freshen the wood chips if I don’t stay on it.
 

H20fwler

5 year old buck +
Four years after this project started I would like to go into a little more of our family's goals with putting the ponds in and what we wanted to accomplish with them.

First they were put in to have a good year round water source and to try and help sexy the property up to benefit all wildlife from bugs to deer and everything in between. We were dealing with a pretty small property and trying to get as much out of it as we could as far as getting it back to nature. We aren't farmers and we didn't buy to try and ever make any income off of it, just a place for family to hunt/fish and relax in God’s creation.
One of the biggest obvious benefits to us as a family has been waterfowl, hunting/watching/nest boxes...with a side of fishing. The ponds being shallow I wasn't sure how the fishing would work out and don't think it would further north where winters are much colder and ice thicker, deepest parts of ponds are a little over five feet.
We have been very lucky being able to attract waterfowl to the ponds. A lot of that has to do with location, we have birds in the area but also I would like to think it has to do some with the ponds themselves. It is almost rare anymore that ducks - geese - herons and shorebirds of some kind don't get up off the ponds when we walk up to them, we try not to disturb them much and only go around them if we actually need to do something at the ponds or are fishing.
In the spring and fall they really seem to build up. We try to only hunt it a couple times a season and the shooting is usually very good, I think my youngest son would like to hunt it a couple times a week in fall but I wave him off. I don't like to hunt there that much because I think all the banging no doubt scares the deer on the property and deer season runs parallel with duck season. We have plenty of other places to duck hunt. I love watching and hearing them while I'm in the deer stand and the wife and I just enjoy seeing them around, we even had a pair of sandhills land along the edge last fall.
From watching the waterfowl and shorebirds I think a lot of the attraction is just like with deer or anything else...food/shelter/safety and we try and provide all three. Our ponds are definitely not "clean" manicured swimming fishing boating ponds. We put them in specifically for wildlife and it seems to be working out great for just that, even though they might look like a weedy mess I hope that to waterfowl they look like an all you can eat salad bar.
I've tried some wild rice and jap millet but it really didn't take well. What has done great is native stuff that mostly came on its own that is great cover and food for wildlife and good for little fish/frogs/bugs.
Took some pics yesterday afternoon of the "edge" which I feel is just as important as the edges of a woods or field is to deer/turkey/bunnies/pheasants. It provides food and cover where the water and land meet. We have all kinds of sedge/water plantain/pond weed/buttonbush/bulrush/small willow/swamp milkweed and all kinds of water plants that I don't even know what they are. The only thing I don't like having there is cattails and that is because they will try and take over shallow ponds so I spot spray a couple times a summer and keep it under control. I also keep an eye on the bulrush but it's benefits have so far outweighed any negative about it.

Some pics of the "edge" plants that really help the ponds.

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And I had a chance to get another look at the bass! In around thirty five minutes I caught four bass and two decent size green sunfish, my go to lure was a small rubber weedless frog that worked perfect. Had two bass get off and a few big V's shoot towards lure and turn off.
It was like watching shark week the way they would jump and smash the lure, even through the pond weed.

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Catscratch

5 year old buck +
Nice update!

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

Mortenson

5 year old buck +
Everything is lookin' great out there at paradise!
 

H20fwler

5 year old buck +
It has been really dry and hot&windy here, the front pond is down over two feet. I am starting to get concerned about the fish...we need a few good rains bad.
Still getting some ducks and shore birds daily.

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