The forecast went like this and it wasn't pretty...
TONIGHT S WINDS 15 TO 20 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 40 KT...BECOMING SE 10 TO 15 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 25 KT LATE. SEAS 10 TO 14 FT. NUMEROUS SHOWERS. AREAS OF FOG LATE THIS EVENING AND OVERNIGHT. VSBY 1 TO 3 NM.
So my plan was to work the high tide on a western point in hopes that a successful shot would drift in my efforts. If the ducks were stationed on the windward side of the point this would work, at least it should. As I loaded the Xtrema2 with my Kent Fasteel pellet fury, I noticed a small flock of eiders on the northern side of the point, but moving away and around the point as they quickly picked me out. This situation in my eyes became a staunch possibility and I quickly made headway towards the end of the point.
Concealed by the thickness of a large low lying spruce branch, I quietly watched two young drake eiders fight the wind and turn the point. They were a bit too far and a chance at best. Then I noticed a female working to my left much closer to the shoreline than the male pair. They joined mid-way as I worked my way out from the cover of the giant spruce and shifted quietly behind a large blow over. Once the hen dove to feed, I lurched out and readied for the shot.
The first shot made it mark, but the hen was determined while the drakes that were still out of range took off. The other eiders off the point took to the air as did some black ducks that caught me by surprise. A bleak shot with bad timing was quickly offset by the renewed focus on completing the effort on the hen eider. With two more following shots in a fair sea swell, the eider subsided.
All else went according to plan as the wind and chop pushed the eider into shore. As I reached down for the hen, I noticed the ever exciting bird band. Upon this, I bolted for home to take some photos.
What is most impressive about this particular hunt was that this banded hen eider was taken exactly how I usually pursue black ducks and mallards. For today, a sea duck stalk proved worthwhile and the attainment of yet another banded duck has been one fine beginning to a blustery and absent sea duck season.
I'll post later with the data.
The Downeast Duck Hunter