Celebrating 70 Years





NEWS IN THE WATERFOWL WORLD:

Nisqually Wildlife Refuge Waterfowl Counts

After a long request period, in April 2014 WWA received mid-winter (January) waterfowl counts for the Nisqually Widlife Refuge (NWR) going back to 1976.  Unfortunately these data were provided as totals across the refuge and bayfront, and did not provide counts for the various segments of the refuge such as bayfront, fields, and creek.  This makes it difficult to determine if there have been changes in use of these various areas since 1976 and, in particular, since the outer dike was removed.  WWA will be providing some more in depth analysis of these data and has asked whether there is any more detailed breakouts of the data.  But, the data do show a decline in several species over past few years, in particular gadwall and wigeon, with possible, but less clearly defined declines in mallards, northern pintail, and green-wing teal.  More information as we do some more data analysis.


North Puget Sound Watefowl Counts

WWA examined the 1953 to 2005 waterfowl count data for north Puget Sound and compared them to the November and December 2013 counts.  The "Early November" long term average across all years is 163,811.  The Early November 2013 count was 90,350, 55% of the long-term average.  Only three years had fewer numbers than this since 1953.  However, after a couple weeks of freezing weather up north (and here), the Early December 2013 showed 190,960 ducks in north Puget Sound, which was quite close to the long-term average of 198,685.  As many of you know, north Puget Sound began holding a lot more birds in the mid-2000's, but actually this trend started in the late 1980's after the all time lows in duck numbers of the early 1980's.  The Early December count of 190,960 was 62 percent of the 1985 to 2006/7 average of 305,869.  Why did duck numbers climb from the late 80's to 2010, and why have they been lower over the past several years?

Willapa Bay Waterfowl Counts
WWA has been actively pursuing waterfowl count data for Willapa Bay for the past two years.  After nearly a year, we received data from the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge.  WWA and WDFW are currently working to get the data into a most useful format.  At the behest of WWA, WDFW began waterfowl counts on Willapa Bay in 2012, for the first time in many years.  In October 2013, about 60,000 ducks were counted and by November, this number dropped to 29,039 ducks, compared to a November 2012 count of 74,641.  So it appears duck numbers in Willapa Bay are lower this year than last, but because we only have two years of current data, not much can be concluded about the differences.  WWA has been pushing State Agencies to get eelgrass quantification conducted for Willapa Bay because we hypothesize that annual Japanese eelgrass production (which appears to vary greatly year to year) is a defining factor in the number of waterfowl on Willapa Bay in any given year.


RECIPE:

Duck with Grand Marnier

Filet the breasts off a nice fat duck including the plucked skin. Cross hatch just the skin with a sharp knife. Soak in salted water over night. Pat dry and salt and pepper. Cook 1 piece of bacon in a small pan to render the fat over medium low heat.

Remove bacon. (eat bacon as snack ) Add duck skin side down. Cook until browned, rendering the duck fat. Turn the duck and continue cooking. In a small bowl have 1 shot Grand Marnier, 1/4 cup orange juice, 1 Tbsp finely sliced Ginger sticks, pinch of cloves, allspice, cinnamon, clove of crushed garlic. As duck nears doneness put all the above over the duck. Watch for flames. Simmer a minute and remove duck to plate. Reduce sauce. As it starts to brown add some butter (about a Tbsp) and red pepper flakes(taste). Simmer until thickened. Then pour over duck.

You can double, triple recipe, etc..as to # of duck breasts.. Enjoy. Its a A1 recipe for a nice fat puddle duck.


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