Today marks my 9th training flight with the USFWS Branch of Migratory Bird Surveys. I continue to make incremental improvements everyday but still remain inconsistent with some great ponds called then the next totally blown. This is next level birding few will ever get to try much less accomplish and I am very grateful for the challenge. My fellow pilots do a great job of putting me on new areas and ducks if I start getting too confident!
We have been blessed with mostly great weather here in Mitchell SD only missing two flight days due to low ceilings and winds. Next week we have a warm up, which here in SD is any temperature above 50, indeed they are calling for some 80's next week. From my rather amateur observations I can confidently report blue winged teal, gadwall, coots and Canada geese seem to be doing well! Behind those mallards are also quite common. I have seen a few small groups of the very cute ruddy ducks, a few scaup, a few bufflehead, one pair of goldeneye and several pintail. Others observed include wood duck, wigeon, redheads, canvasback and green winged teal.
Check out the video below for a taste of how we survey large portions of north America... 90 knots at a time from about 150ft.