Things are starting to come together here at the Coteau Lodge. Everyone is getting the feel for nest dragging through the search plots on the Coteau Ranch (DU land) and the Davis Ranch (Nature Conservancy land) even with all of the obstacles that we encounter such as steep angles of hills, maneuvering around wetlands, and worst of all getting the chain wrapped around a rock that throws you off the ATV if you’re not careful! However, these obstacles do not outweigh the joy when we see a hen (female duck) flush from her nest and we find the eggs! Video footage is just beginning to accumulate and we should be expecting a hatch shortly, as one of the mallard nests is already 20 days in (23 days is roughly the incubation period).
During this last week, we also had the privilege to show our practices to newer members of Ducks Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and Ducks Unlimited Mexico (All pictured below) for a research seminar they held in Bismarck. John and Sam had a station showing how the nest cameras work and Jaylin and Allicyn had a station performing the nest dragging for everyone. I (Mason) was the photographer at this event, and some of the pictures are located in the gallery section
Looking forward into whats happening this week, our UND professor leading this research, Susan Felege, will be joining us for a couple days and flying a UAS drone over the search plots to take pictures with a thermal camera as well as a normal camera attempting to identify nesting sites/species of duck aerially. Otherwise, we will be continuing to learn on the job and hopefully get a chance to go out fishing with our “not so” free time.