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“Horicon National Wildlife Refuge – Fall 2022 Waterbird Blog
This is week eight of waterbird surveys at the refuge for the fall migration. The upper Midwest had unseasonably warm temperatures into the 70’s.
Canada goose numbers increased to near 30,000 this week.
Dabbling ducks decreased on this week’s survey to around 20,000. Top species (listed in order of abundance) seen in the thousands were American wigeon, green-winged teal, mallards, Northern pintails, Northern shovelers, and gadwall. Other species with less than 100 each included: blue-winged teal, wood ducks and black ducks.
Diving duck numbers continue to remain low – around 500. Ruddy ducks and ring-necked ducks were counted in the hundreds. Redheads, lesser scaup, and buffleheads were counted with less than 100 of each species.
Other sightings to note:
More than 12,000 American coots are here. Large rafts of 1000 or more can be seen along Hwy 49.
Thousands of sandhill cranes (~10,000) are gathering at the marsh for their annual stopover. You can watch their daily flights in and out of the marsh. Sunrise and one hour before sunset are the best times to see large flocks transition between the roosting and feeding grounds.
Large flocks of shorebirds – including dunlins and dowitchers can be seen around the auto tour route.
Notably absent – American white pelicans, cormorants, egrets, and great blue herons.
The auto tour route continues to have great wildlife viewing. Look in the first impoundment on the right for shorebirds feeding on the mudflats. Hwy 49 and Ledge Road offer viewing of a wide variety of species.”