As the mallard and pintails begin to wrap up their breeding season, we are excited to welcome the later nesters such as the gadwall and scaup. We are expecting to see more of these two species begin to nest in the prairie pothole region and we welcome their arrival. We have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of gadwall nests and even found our first scaup nest of the season last week!
In addition to finding our first scaup nest of the year, we have had many other cool events happen out in the field. One that sticks out in particular occurred on one of our search plots on the Davis Ranch. We had a northern shoveler flush from her nest before our chain had dragged over her. We stopped to go find her nest and stumbled upon a northern pintail nest just 10 feet to the left of where the northern shoveler had taken flight. The pintail nest was found first and when we went back to searching for the shoveler nest, a blue-winged teal flushed off to the right of us. After all three nests were found, they all ended up being within 40 feet of each other! Amazing how three different species of waterfowl decided to nest so close to one another.
As for the prairie itself, we have been experiencing a significant drought in the region. Our potholes are displaying a noticeable low level of water which is resulting in less than ideal nesting conditions for the waterfowl just arriving. Hopefully we get some rain soon as we want to find many more nests during the remainder of the season!