1 MDWFP Aerial Waterfowl Survey Report - 11, 2019 January 8 Prepared by: Houston Havens Waterfowl Program Coordinator and Darrin Hardesty Waterfowl Program Biologist MS Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks 601-432-2199 [email protected] [email protected]
2 The early January MDWFP aerial waterfowl survey occurred the week of January 8 – 11, 2019. , wetland habitat availability Continuing to build upon the already wet fall and winter conditions levels typically observed . S hallowly managed water was observed remained well above the because of landowner . across much of the Mississippi Delta s and managers capturing rainfall harvested agricultural fields have been left undisturbed Due to consistent rainfall this fall, many has likely resulted in increased food resources for dr y-feeding geese and (not disked under). This for ducks when fields become flooded. Flooded habitat was readily available in most regions of , especially in the Yazoo b ackwater area in the South Delta and t the Mississippi Delta he lands . Water levels remained relatively high in most drainages, the Mississippi River levees between creeks, and rivers, and “natural” over flooding was observed in many areas. -bank Continuing this season’ , early January duck abundance estimates were lower than recent s trend years’ estimates in the Mississippi Delta region ( Table 1 and Figure 1 ). Estimates early January allard - s, diver s, and total ducks were all significantly lower than their long for m s, other dabbler Table 2 term averages for the early January period ( ). Dabblers other than mallards comprised about 50% of all duck observations, which is typical for this time of year in Mississippi. most abundant dabbling duck species observed overall Mallards were by far the , followed by green -winged teal and northern s hovelers . Scaup, ring -necked ducks, and ruddy ducks were the most abundant diving duck species observed, respectively. The lack of significant duck numbers migrating into the state is likely due to the mild weather This weather, combined with abundant rainfall creating large experienced so far this winter. wetland habitat at mid and northern latitudes expanses of , has resulted in open (unfrozen) unfavorable conditions for large migration events . This week’s forecast shows a cool start, followed by a significantly warmer and rainy end to the week. However, the extended forecast predicts a sharp decrease in temperatures over the weekend, followed by relatively cool k. Bio logists and managers are optimistic this weather , temperatures lasting into next wee combined with snowfall in the Midwest for , could provide an increase in waterfowl numbers Mississippi before the hunting season ends . The northeastern , other dabblers, portion of the Delta held the greatest abundances of mallards . The greatest abundances of diving ducks were observed in the and total ducks overall southeastern region. M and other dabbling ducks were observed extensively using flooded allards agricultural fields, followed by permanent water areas such as rivers and lakes . As usual, m ost diving ducks were observed using large catfish pond complexes . However, a high proportion of diving duck observations were also recorded in flooded agriculture fields. Since many fields are currently holding deeper water than usual, this may have had caused a wide d ispersal of diving ducks. In general, the abundant habitat available across the Delta could have negatively impacted our ability to detect some large concentrations of ducks. As expected, duck abundance was greatest in areas where large complex es of wetland habitat were available. Many l arge concentrations of light geese (snow, blue, and Ross’ geese) were observed during the early January . Light geese were especially abundant in the nort heastern portion of the survey Delta, but large flocks were also observed moving into the southern regions of the Delta. Large numbers of greater white -fronted geese were again observed using large agricultural fields (both dry and flooded) and levees around production catfish ponds .
3 The remainder of the s for Mississippi will continue regular duck and goose hunting season . For weekly waterfowl reports and more information on the MDWFP through January 27, 2019 Waterfowl Program, visit our website at http://www.mdwfp.com/waterfowl . . Waterfowl abundance estimates in the Mississippi Delta durin g the early January Table 1 survey periods, 2008- 2019. Year Dabblers Divers Total Ducks Mallards 527,205 248,542 204,322 74,342 08 2007 - 536,529 191,236 278,601 66,691 - 09 2008 281,622 440,314 170,797 892,734 - 10 2009 120,700 197,319 352,858 670,878 - 2010 11 655,379 215,268 339,908 100,202 - 2011 12 448,586 131,930 263,852 70,775 - 2012 13 313,851 191,888 1,244,714 742,182 2013 - 14 145,153 364,349 74,502 584,004 2014 - 15 213,759 210,159 109,414 521,662 - 2015 16 678,235 620,432 143,739 1,442,406 2016 17 - 1,128,912 49,488 484,121 595,303 18 2017 - 111,787 368,211 186,633 69,791 19 2018 - 751,768 264,050 386,928 103,528 Average
4 Figure 1 . Waterfowl abundance estimates in the Mississippi Delta during the five most recent survey periods. early January 1,400,000 1,200,000 1,000,000 Early Jan 2015 Early Jan 2016 800,000 Early Jan 2017 Ducks 600,000 Early Jan 2018 400,000 Early Jan 2019 200,000 0 Dabblers Total Ducks Divers Mallards Survey Period Table 2 -term . Comparison of early January 2019 aerial waterfowl survey estimates to the long early January average (LTA) for survey estimates. % Change from LTA LTA Species Group Early January 2019 Early January - Mallards 111,787 264,050 5 7.7 % Other Dabblers 186,633 386,928 - 52.8 % Diving Ducks 69,791 103,528 - 32.6 % % Total Ducks 368,211 751 , 768 - 51.1
5 Distribution of Mallards in the Mississippi Delta Jan. 8 - 11, 2019 Description Low (<12/mi2) Medium (12-115/mi2) Tunica High (>115/mi2) " Panola Quitman Coahoma Tallahatchie Bolivar Grenada Sunflower Leflore Washington Jefferson Holmes Humphreys Adams Sharkey Yazoo Issaquena Wilkinson Prepared by MDWFP GIS Lab 15 Jan. 2019
6 Distribution of Total Ducks in the Mississippi Delta Jan. 8 - 11, 2019 Description Low (<12/mi2) Medium (12-115/mi2) Tunica High (>115/mi2) " Panola Quitman Coahoma Tallahatchie Bolivar Grenada Sunflower Leflore Washington Jefferson Holmes Humphreys Adams Sharkey Yazoo Issaquena Wilkinson Prepared by MDWFP GIS Lab 15 Jan. 2019
7 Greatest Concentrations of Ducks Observed in the Mississippi Delta Jan. 8 - 11, 2019 Description Tunica Lower " Panola Quitman Coahoma Higher Tallahatchie Bolivar Grenada Sunflower Leflore Washington Jefferson Holmes Humphreys Adams Sharkey Yazoo Issaquena Wilkinson This map does not use the same area calculations Note: as previously published maps and is intended to illustrate Prepared by MDWFP major concentrations of ducks in the Mississippi Delta. GIS Lab 15 Jan. 2019
8 Locations and relative size of light goose flocks in the Mississippi Delta Tunica Jan. 8 - 11, 2019 " Panola Description Quitman Lower Coahoma Tallahatchie Bolivar Grenada Higher Sunflower Leflore Washington Holmes Humphreys Sharkey Yazoo Issaquena R ¬ « This map does not use the same area calculations Note: as previously published maps and is intended to illustrate location and size of goose flocks in the Mississippi Delta. Prepared by MDWFP GIS Lab 15 Jan. 2019