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Sacramento NWR duck counts jump up

By Frank Galusha
09/09/14 -- [Updated 09/10/14] Duck counts at the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge are up about 1000 percent, an estimated total of 106,300, birds, thanks in large part to the not unusual arrival of about 64,000 pintail in the past four weeks. Many more mallards and green-winged teal were also counted. Geese numbers are still low as would be expected for this time of year but the migration has definitely started.

Pintails are early birds at Sacramento Wildlife Refuges. Photo courtesy of USFWS

Pintails are early birds at Sacramento Wildlife Refuges. Photo courtesy of USFWS

This news comes from Mike Carpenter, Wildlife Biologist at refuge headquarters in Willows, who released the early-September counts this morning. Carpenter’s mid-August survey, released a week ago, showed only about 10,000 ducks on the Complex. Last year at this time, the refuge count was slightly higher at about 111,000 ducks.

In addition to 66,590 sprig, the refuge is now holding about 8,800 mallard, 15,740 green-winged teal and 10,000 shovelers. The same number of pintail were on the refuge at this time in 2013.

A call to the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge was returned (after the initial post of this piece) by Stacy Freitas, refuge hunt coordinator, who said there was survey last week, showing just 500 birds in Lower Klamath mainly in the Sheepy Lake area, and about 60-70,000 birds on the Tule Lake Side. Freitas said the only water on the Lower Klamath side was in Sheepy Lake but some water would be pumped through the hill into Unit 3A and 6B1 starting about September 15th. On the Tule Lake side, she said both Sumps 1A and Sump 1B are full and that’s where the birds are.

The Lower Klamath side of the refuge has received very little water this year and there is no rain in sight. Daytime temperatures there are still in the low to mid-eighties and nighttime lows won’t drop much below 46 degrees for the rest of this week. It’s even hotter to the north around Grants Pass where high temps are in the 90’s.

The weather usually starts to cool off across this region by mid-September. This year we may have to wait until October to see weather cold enough to enjoy waterfowl hunting.

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mountain lion on rocky edge, photo courtesy of UDWR and Carrie Wilson, CA DFW
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Website Design Photo Credits: MyOutdoorBuddy.com thanks the following individuals for contributing photographs for use on our Home and Section pages: Anders Tomlinson of Tule-Lake.com, Casey Allen of Bayside, CA; Jason Haley of Medford, OR; Steve Breth of Burney, CA; Tracy McCormack of Eureka, CA; Grant Thompson of Grand Junction, CO; Richard Bott of Shingletown, CA; Ron Loftus of Yreka, CA; Scott Caldwell of Montague, CA; Lorissa Soriano of Alturas, CA and the late Dave Menke, formerly with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

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