I am late posting Aaron Yetter’s blog off the aerial surveys last week, but figure I should get it up anyway. As the wind whistles and layers the cold this morning, I figure change is coming for waterfowl this week and his note on “state ducks” is about to change.
Click here for much information about the aerial surveys and, more importantly, about the Stephen A. Forbes Biological Station, located along the Illinois River on Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge near Havana. Established in 1894, “it is the oldest inland field station in North America and one of nine field stations of the Illinois Natural History Survey. The Frank C. Bellrose Waterfowl Research Center is housed at the Forbes Biological Station.”
As to the photo above, Yetter’s tag has it mallards in willows. I find it an intriguing shot.
Here is Yetter’s blog from last week:
December 1st, 2017 – Aerial Waterfowl Inventory Blog We flew the waterfowl inventory on Wednesday, November 29th. The Illinois River was 45% above the 10-yr average for total ducks. However, we have been hovering around 325,000 ducks for a couple of weeks now. The Illinois River had 172,090 mallards, but they were only up 1% from last week. The Mississippi River was 61% above the 10-yr average, and mallards were up 109% from last week and estimated at 402,800 birds. I’m not sure what was going with the big increase in mallards on the Mississippi. Based on hunting reports, I don’t think we had a major influx of migrant mallards. Maybe these ducks have been around the area for several weeks and have finally moved into the refuges counted from the air. Over the past 10 years, Illinois River mallard numbers have peaked on November 30th, with the Mississippi River being slightly later on December 3rd. Hopefully, all we need is weather and little ice to make them move around on the landscape. The weather forecast indicates we might just get those colder temperatures around Wednesday, December 6th. Let’s hope so because these ducks are stale. For more information about the waterfowl survey, check out our webpage at www.bellrose.org. Stay tuned for more updates next week…….