Back in the air

We’re back in the air again. Actually, we’ve been at it for a month now counting shorebirds, but we completed the 1st teal flight of the year on Wednesday, September 2nd. There was an abundance of blue-winged teal (Spatula discors) along both rivers for the first week of September. We estimated 45,240 blue-wings along the Illinois River Valley (IRV), coming in at 139% above the 10-yr average. The central Mississippi River also had good numbers of blue-wings totaling 9,910 birds, 127% above average for the first week of September. Blue-wing numbers in the IRV were actually quite staggering. The 45,000+ birds witnessed this week was the 9th highest total in 72 years of surveys and will be the 5th highest peak count of blue-winged teal since 1948. Hopefully we will enjoy a great opening day of teal season beginning Saturday, September 5th.

Illinois River Waterfowl Aerial Inventory – 9/2/2020

Central Mississippi Waterfowl Aerial Inventory – 9/2/2020

scattered blue-winged teal in wetlands
Blue-winged teal (Spatula discors) prefer the very shallow water and sloppy mud usually found along the perimeter of wetlands.
Southwesterly view of Chautauqua NWR on September 2, 2020.
Northerly view of the Cuba Island complex at the Sanganois State Fish and Wildlife Area near Chandlerville, Illinois. The Cuba Island complex is a mix of public and private wetlands. The bottom portion of the photo is known as the Barkhausen Refuge. The central portion is called Otter Lake, while the northern end is Mound Lake. In the distance, you can see Crane Lake in the top left portion of the photo.