Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.
It didn’t take a trained meteorologist or PhD level ornithologist to read the signs. With starry nighttime skies, daily high temperatures dropping off dramatically, and steadily freshening breezes, the message was clear. Migratory birds would be on the move. And for anyone who spent time poking around North Iowa wetlands on Friday and Saturday, the winged spectacle was one to be remembered.
Most notable for their sheer numbers, of course, were the incredible speeding flocks of southbound blue-winged teal. Major teal migrations had already occurred on September 2 and September 6, making the passage of blue-wings last Friday and Saturday [September of 13 & 14] the third big migration of the season. In addition to blue-wings, newly arriving green-winged teal and migrating pintails also made their debut among the North Iowa potholes. A surprising number of late doves were on the move by mid-day Saturday, as well as an increasing number of snipe and other shorebirds. Sandhill cranes were reported on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Flocks of sky high Canada geese were also observed during the weekend. Snipe season is already open; and by Saturday morning we’ll be sitting the duck blind. Fall is here!!!