Fisher County Game Warden Justin Valchar received an award from the Texas Department of Public Safety this week at DPS headquarters in Austin. The award is associated with a rescue during recent flood conditions in which Warden Valchar entered running water to rescue someone from the top of a vehicle.
Warden Valchar wore a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) and took another PFD to the stranded person. Warden Valchar worked with a DPS officer who was handling a line tied to Valchar during the rescue
Green-winged teal are the smallest of the puddle ducks in the Central Flyway. They have a length 13-16 inches and have an average weight of ½ to 1 pound.The drake (male) is beautifully colored with a dark, reddish-brown head, a green streak over the eye, and a vertical white stripe on the side. The female is primarily brown. The speculum shows green in both sexes. Green-winged teal fly swiftly, often in small, tight flocks. Drakes whistle and have a tittering call; hens sound a faint quack.
Green-winged drake – Click for larger view
The Northern pintail, commonly referred to as pintail, has a body-length of 20-29 inches and averages 1.9-2.3-pounds. Drakes are also called “sprigs.” Pintail are among the most beautifully marked of all the ducks.
A pintail male in breeding plumage has a brown head, white neck and breast, and a gray back and sides. Females are grayish brown and are typically the most mis-identified duck of all the ducks harvested in the central flyway of the United States. Typically, novice birders and hunters think pintail hens are gadwall. The speculum is metallic greenish-brown with a white rear border. But far more noticeable in flight is the male’s long, slender, pointed tail. Pintails are extremely graceful and fast fliers, fond of zig-zagging from great heights before leveling off to land. Voice: the drake has a flute-like whistle, the hen a soft quack.
Click photos for larger view
Gadwall are 19-23 inches inches in length and average 1.8-2.2 pounds in weight. Sometimes referred to as “gray ducks.” Male gadwall in breeding plumage have brown heads, gray bodies and black tails. The female is similar, but more brown in color. The legs are yellow. This is the only puddle duck with white in its speculum. The drake whistles and sounds a kack-kock; the hen quacks like a mallard, but more rapidly and higher pitched. Continue reading
Puddle ducks, also called dabbling ducks, are the largest and most widespread group of waterfowl in the world! They include the wild ducks most familiar to people. The two major duck groups, puddle and diving ducks, differ in several ways.
Divers inhabit large deep lakes and rivers, and coastal bays and inlets; puddle ducks tend to stick to the shallows of lakes, rivers and freshwater marshes, although they frequent saltwater, especially during migration. Diving ducks are, as their name implies, adept at diving and obtain most of their food this way. Puddle ducks, such as mallards and gadwall, prefer to feed on the surface or close to it; often they stretch their heads underwater, feeding upended with their tails in the air. As a group, they are not accomplished divers, but adults dive occasionally and ducklings do so frequently. Continue reading
Click for larger view
The American black duck is also called “black mallard” or “red leg.” Plumage is a dark, mottled brown with white underwings and a violet-blue speculum. It’s length is 21-26 inches and its average weight is anywhere from 2.4-2.8 pounds. When visibility is good, the contrast between the light-brown head and the brown-black body is noticeable. This is our only puddle duck in which the plumages of both sexes are almost identical; the drake in nuptial plumage has a bright yellow bill, contrasting with the female’s olive-green bill. The voice of the hen is a loud quack; of the drake, a lower-pitched kwek-kwek.
Black ducks eat a variety of vegetable foods, including eelgrass, widgeon grass, and the seeds of sedges, bulrushes, wild rice, pondweeds, smartweeds and millets. On land they feed on acorns and waste corn, willingly flying up to 25 miles to a reliable source of the latter. Animal foods, more important in winter, include periwinkles, mussels, and snails. Continue reading
Davy Crockett killed a bear when he was three according to legend. More recently, a distant relative of the 19th-century frontiersman has done the same thing at the age of five. Tre Merritt, a 5-year-old boy from Arkansas, killed a black bear Sunday, according to his grandfather.
“(The bear) came in about 40 to 50 yards,” Mike Merritt, Tre’s grandfather, told KATV of Little Rock, Ark, “and when he got in the open, I whistled at him and he stopped and I said, ‘Shoot Tre.’ “
And that’s what his grandson did, killing the 400-pound animal.
“I was up in the stand and I seen the bear,” Tre Merritt told TV reporters. “It came from the thicket and it was beside the road and I shot it.”
According to the report, Tre’s father said his son began shooting when he was 2 1/2 and killed three deer last year. What else would you expect from a decendant of the “King of the Wild Frontier?”
“His 10th great-grandfather was Davy Crockett,” Mike Merritt said. “And Davy supposedly killed him a bear when he was three. And Tre is five and really killed a bear. I really doubt if Davy killed one when he was three.”