Once in Boston, Trey got held up and launched these two text messages.
5:28 p.m. -Have not gotten on the plane yet. We were supposed to leave 5 min ago.
5:32 p.m. -Mechanical delay. I'll keep you posted.
Then all communications from Trey ceased. He must have gotten onto the plane, this gave me time to finalize some shopping before his arrival and get to the Bar Harbor airport in due time. Meanwhile, the winds subsided to a point where I honestly believed we'd have a chance for some gunning. The weather forecast had become more disheartening by the day and simply put, I needed to put Trey onto a few ducks. With the shear lack of migratory action and now a persistent breeze, my hopes diminished for any morsel of success. Aside of my concern, I still exuded a nervous excitement about meeting my pen pal/internet buddy/fellow outdoor writer. The connectivity behind our electronic communications would end this evening, our efforts at friendship would be realized one way or the other soon.
After some time, the small plane roared onto the landing strip and quickly taxied to the small terminal (airport if you will). From my position, one could see the parking lot, baggage claim, check in desk, security detail, and waiting area. I walked up to the receiving doors and watched the few people exit the plane. Eventually, Trey Luckie jumped out and immediately recognized me with an ambitious wave. Within minutes, we had met and immediately discovered that Trey's baggage had not joined him for the flight to Bar Harbor. Once confirmed the bag was in Boston, I quickly arranged delivery to my home. Trey would not be wearing his proud Browning outdoor apparel on day one but I would make sure he had the necessary amenities to pursue that which flies.
Within an hour of riding, we made it to my home and quickly prepared Trey's dress for the next day. Daylight would be early and all my research around the weather suggested wind, but the wind had died down. We could potentially have a chance, that encouraged me. Until we woke up.
With the sunrise came a faster breeze, but breakfast was our priority. With bacon, eggs, toast, coffee, and juice, we shot the breeze about our possibilities with the forecast. Two options existed, one left us in my backyard over some sea duck decoys I had put out on a low water days before. Some eiders had been feeding all over the bay and had taken a liking to the mussel beds just outside of my beach. In addition, some black ducks had been showing up and could be an awesome chance especially with the tide being half flood. The other option would take us to my buddy Jason's home and prime black duck habitat. This move would be chancy at best, for there had been no ducks spotted up to this point.
Option one took precedence as my wife came around the corner and said, "Some black ducks just hit the water straight out". Sure enough, my watchful sweetheart put our operation into motion. I grabbed the binoculars and bolted upstairs to glass the foursome. A split had taken place and our hunt did also, Trey was instructed to get dressed fast and leave breakfast on the table. Priority and pursuit lay before us, it was black duck time.
For those who don't know, a black duck is a miserable bird to outsmart especially when implementing a stalk. Tide, timing, and concealment are essential to bringing down one of these prize ducks. Our left hand option was present and Trey managed to not cover his blue jeans. Hesitant knowing that the concealment aspect had been compromised, we slid down toward the shore.
The pair of blacks were there, Trey just didn't pick them up. I quietly attempted to point them out, but we had become "busted". As we watched the two meander cautiously away, I immediately considered the other pair that had split right. Leaving Trey on the shore covered with my camouflage jacket over his blue jeans, I made way back upstairs to spot the other black ducks. Sure enough, they were feeding along the shore and making way around a small point. We had a chance, our window closing fast.
I ran back down to Trey's position, explained exactly what we needed to do and moved quickly to intercept the "other" pair. Onto the beach we crept, crawled along the shoreline towards a higher ledge of concealment and spotted the black ducks that conveniently joined several other black ducks. Our position held, I reverberated that we were allowed just one black duck each while also explaining there was several more than two black ducks in that one spot. Plenty of eyes offered a dim chance, but with one more quiet push towards a shoreline rose bush we got within striking distance. I told Trey that he had the first shot, I would follow. Without one moment of hesitation, Trey arose from his crouched position and fired upon the lead duck. As the others rose, I took the furthest left one leaving Trey to ensure his duck was down. In seconds, our quarry rested upon the water amongst some seaweed structure. I waded out into the shallow water, grabbed the pair, and presented Trey with his limit. Trey smiled and suggested that this stalk was easy, but easy comes when all planets align when hunting a black duck.
The pressure was off, operation black duck down was met with success, and now we were able to return to breakfast where our coffee was still warm.
For my next post: Scoters on the Western Shore