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Teal ‘on-par’ on IL River, ‘well above’ on MS River: First aerial teal flight before teal opener Sept. 11

The Illinois Natural History Survey began its aerial teal flights on Thursday, Sept. 2, ahead of the opening of teal season on Saturday, Sept. 11; Joshua Osborn gives some perspective and the usual PDF breakdown of the sites along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.

Refitted file photo from the Illinois Natural History Survey’s aerial waterfowl inventories. Credit: Illinois Natural History Survey
Refitted file photo from the Illinois Natural History Survey’s aerial waterfowl inventories.
Illinois Natural History Survey

Joshua Osborn began the aerial teal flights on Thursday, Sept. 2, for the Illinois Natural History Survey.

He noted that we “don’t have the booming teal numbers we did at this time last year, we’re still on-par with (IL River) or well above (MS River) the 10-yr averages for blue-winged teal along the survey route.” The PDF breakdowns of the Illinois River and Mississippi River inventories are linked below.

Click here for details on the aerial waterfowl inventories and the long history of them. Click here for the home site for the Forbes Biological Station; click here for the Facebook page of the station.

Here is the overview of the first teal flight by Osborn, a waterfowl ecologist for the INHS-Forbes Biological Station:

I began the 2021 teal flights on Thursday, September 2nd. While we don’t have the booming teal numbers we did at this time last year, we’re still on-par with (IL River) or well above (MS River) the 10-yr averages for blue-winged teal along the survey route. Along the IL River Chautauqua Lake, Clear Lake, and Thompson/Flag Lakes are carrying the majority of the teal. Teal are also abundant at Goose Lake (Woodford County Refuge) on the upper IL. Still lots of shorebird and teal habitat out there. We should see some seed production from moist-soil vegetation along the river, but it won’t be at the level we observed last year. Unfortunately I think most backwaters dewatered just a little late this year to see significant food. Thanks a lot, river. The story for the MS River this week is Swan Lake. Habitat in the lower pools at Swan Lake look phenomenal right now and is where I observed the majority of the waterfowl this week on the MS River. The north pool is holding water; a hole in the cross levee that has allowed it to drain in recent years has been filled. The low numbers along the rest of the lower MS is not an indication of habitat. Habitat here is good, but not inundated yet.

IL090221 (1).pdf

MS090221.pdf