I thought there would be swarms of mallards in my SZ spots this past week. The northern freeze would have moved them down and the local ice would concentrate them where I wanted them... no such luck.
Brother-of-Dutch, Paul, scouted and warned me that they were few and far between, and heavily hunted in the better spots. I did find one concentration, but the morning ice was just enough to move them to the other side of the marsh - so I abandoned that plan.
Fortunately, the tides were in our favor - high at dusk. This meant that the birds would be moving into the marshes as they flooded around noon. We would shoot some ponds that a few birds were using at dawn and then head out onto the river after breakfast. It worked and we shot well, scoring on every opportunity.
Day one, we got 4 mallards at dawn and 4 more and a blackie on the river. Day two, we got a pair of blackies at dawn and a pair of mallards on another river.
We had to work hard, but it paid off with some nice shoots.