Eastern Dakotas Wrapped Up

Written by Kammie Kruse
Saturday, May 19, 2012

Photo of Kammie Kruse.We wrapped up the ground survey for the Eastern Dakotas crew area today in the northwest part of North Dakota. It was interesting because part of the transect was drier than it has been in past few years, but then we got to the middle of the segment and suddenly there was a lake across the road. In my 10 years of conducting the survey on this Air-Ground, we have never been flooded out in this area! Once we got around the flooded area and came in from the west side, we encountered lots of diving ducks, gadwalls, pintails and mallards, that must have been attracted to the flooded wetlands that actually had expanded over cropland. It just goes to show that is why we do these surveys every year, because the habitat and duck distribution are always changing. My overall impression from this year of counting ducks from the ground is that we counted a lot of ducks, but in fewer wetlands than in the past couple years. I could not believe how many ducks some of these small wetlands were holding….blue-winged teal galore.

Thanks to a great ground crew and another big thanks to all the great landowners who gave us access to their land. I want to sign off this year with the best reaction we got from a landowner when she saw the “Duck Survey” magnetic sign we have on our truck and asked us with a big smile on her face ”what did the Ducks say?”

A pair of blue-winged teal.

A pair of blue-winged teal. Photo by Kammie Kruse, US FWS

Gadwall, green-winged teal, Northern pintail, and ruddy ducks.

Gadwall, green-winged teal, Northern pintail, and ruddy ducks. Photo by Kammie Kruse, US FWS