Eastern Dakotas Ground Crew All Done

Written by Kammie Kruse
Friday, May 30, 2014

Photo of Kammie Kruse.We finished up another ground survey in the Eastern Dakotas. Our overall duck numbers are slightly down from last year with one interesting note that our scaup numbers were higher than they have been in a few years. For more information on habitat conditions etc., make sure to read Terry Liddick’s blog.

I always like to share something unusual or notable that occurred while we were out counting ducks. This year it was the appearance of two “strange” mallards. While counting one wetland I had to take a second look at a male mallard that just looked “off.” Turns out it was a Brewer’s duck—a mallard x gadwall hybrid that was first identified and named by James Audubon—he named it after an ornithologist friend. That was a first for me. Then an even weirder mallard showed up on our 2nd to last transect… a white mallard or technically speaking a leucistic mallard. I was lucky enough to get pictures of both. Take a look at them below.

You might also check out the picture of our close encounter with mud. Aerial crews never have this much fun… we were lucky to get out of that hole that day!

Till next year….

Stephen and Mike counting ducks.

Stephen and Mike counting ducks. Photo by Kammie Kruse, US FWS

Leucistic mallard.

Leucistic mallard. Photo by Kammie Kruse, US FWS

Mallard x Gadwall cross known as a Brewer's duck.

Mallard x Gadwall cross known as a Brewer's duck. Photo by Kammie Kruse, US FWS

We made it out of the mud hole but can't say much for cleanliness of the truck!

We made it out of the mud hole but can't say much for cleanliness of the truck! Photo by Kammie Kruse, US FWS