Here you go..................as of 11/10/05
From central British Columbia to the northern portions of Quebec it appears that a freeze-up is in store for much of Canada. Though the snowfall potential is limited to scattered areas, the ice out on small to medium sized water bodies will serve to kick the migration through, and out of, Canada back into motion.
Most areas should retain some areas of open water for the next few days, but by early next week it looks as though an ice-out may be in store for large sections of the country. It is prime time in Canada for some last minute hunts. As smaller waters freeze, local waterfowl flocks should begin to merge into staging groups on the remaining open waters and feeding activity on grain fields should intensify.
Though the weather for the flyway will stay in the seasonal average range, a cold extending down into south central portions of British Columbia should move a noticeable number of new birds down the flyway as the weekend nears.
Reports last week already indicated a small push of new birds throughout the flyway, and the potential for an up-tick in that activity is good with the weather north of the US border making a turn toward the colder end of the spectrum.
Large numbers of light geese have been moving into, and through the upper flyway over the past several days. While these birds are not sticking around, they do present some prime opportunity for gunning as they move through the area. Scouting will make a huge difference on the success or failure with these fast moving migrant. New flocks of light geese are reported to be stopping over for just a few days before pushing south. Since these birds are not staying long, they are less likely to be under high gunning pressure and somewhat easier to decoy.
Duck numbers have fluctuated widely over the past week in most of the upper flyway. Brief cold snaps, snow showers and strong winds have shifted birds around, while bringing a small influx of new birds in from Canada. As the weather to the north inches toward freeze-up a fresh flight of migrating ducks is expected across the upper flyway, with a shift of birds from the northern states into the central areas of the migration path.
Early migrants have been in good supply along the coastal reaches of the flyway. Redheads, teal, pintail and wigeon are already arriving and their numbers should continue to increase as the weather cools off and fall re-establishes itself across the region.
After a long pause, it looks like the migration will ramp up again this week for the flyway. Colder weather, both in the northern tier and the southern portions of Canada should increase migration activity and improve general waterfowl activity in areas where local birds have been sluggish due to the warm weather.
Diver numbers on the Great Lakes and along the Mississippi River are rising and new puddle ducks flights are reported across the flyway, though in a more random and scattered pattern.
The overall picture for the flyway is for new birds moving down out of Canada with a shift of birds moving down from northern tier states into central and southern portions of the flyway.
Southern areas, many in dire need of rainfall, are reporting respectable duck and light goose numbers. These concentrations are primarily in areas that have either had recent rainfall or in large areas of flooded agricultural land.
With many duck holes in the region dry as a bone, the strong bird numbers may be a bit of a false positive. While numbers appear good in areas with water, the numbers are a bit skewed by the general lack of water through much of the region.
The good news is, if you can find water, chances are you will find birds. Hunting pressure will be a significant factor until more water becomes available throughout this portion of the flyway.
Scattered snowfall and colder weather in the upper flyway should improve hunting for ducks and geese of all variety as the weekend rolls around. Duck and goose numbers have held steady through last week’s warm up and should begin to rise as the seasonal weather returns.
Some influx of new mallards and dark geese is being seen across the northern portions of the flyway and diver and sea duck numbers are building all along the coast.
As the New England states cool down again the general migration along the eastern seaboard should start building again. As usual, smaller puddle and diving ducks will be the first to make the jump southward, but a shift in the more hardy birds, mallards, Canvasbacks and sea ducks should begin as well.
Though the eastern portions of Canada do not look to be in for as strong of a cool down, the upper Great Lakes, where a significant portion of Atlantic Flyway birds come from, is in for a good freeze that should move birds into the Atlantic Flyway.
All across the continent the return of colder weather hold promise for this weekend’s waterfowl hunting. Though this is not likely to be “The Big Push” after swatting mosquitoes and sweating in our blinds, it is a welcome change.
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