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Waterfowl Surveys & Flooding

1 miss bluffs

Monday was our first flight out for our annual fall waterfowl surveys on the upper Mississippi. This is our initial flight to get back into the swing of things, make sure our maps are correct and to get a refresher course on identifying and counting waterfowl while flying over them. Last year my route [...]

Aerial Waterfowl Survey Identification 2

Now let’s talk about some of the more challenging ducks on our aerial waterfowl surveys! Are you ready for some hardcore duck id fun! Sure you are!

I placed this photo in my last blog entry about aerial waterfowl identification and asked if anyone could identify them and somebody did! Believe it or not, [...]

Aerial Survey Waterfowl Idenification Part 1

Doing aerial waterfowl surveys is hard work. It’s a lot like shorebird identification, you can’t just rely on colors, it’s more general size, shape and impression–that’s right giss birding! I’m told that the hard part for many on these surveys is not getting motion sick in the plane. I can’t imagine being motion sick [...]

Identifying Ducks On Aerial Waterfowl Surveys

I was planning on Monday being a busy day: wake up and meet the pilot and fellow counter at the small airport at 7am, count ducks for 2 hours, tweak an article due that day, take our new Kia in to our mechanic for the final approval, edit photos, have all my lines memorized [...]

Another Day Of Waterfowl Surveys

We did another aerial survey of the Upper Mississippi yesterday. It was beautiful morning to fly over the river. We still are not seeing huge amounts of ducks and our pilot who is flying surveys all over the places said that Pool 9 to the south of us is just packed [...]

Aerial Waterfowl Surveys


So, once a week throughout the fall I will be going up in a plane to do aerial waterfowl surveys for the National Park Service. It is equal parts fun and frustration. For one thing, ring-necked ducks look very snazzy in profile, but from above, they’re very dull looking and hard to id from scaup, [...]