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Illinois hunting and fishing

A pair of passing bald eagles flushed a flock of ducks, including pintails, mallards and teal Saturday. Photos by Chris Young.

Photo report: Chautauqua ducks

November 12, 2011 at 06:18 PM

The State Journal-Register

Day after day of strong winds have pushed ducks to the east side of the north pool of Lake Chautauqua.

Refuge manager Lee Albright said he hopes a change in wind direction will allow ducks to take advantage of food available in the rest of the north pool.

Albright manages the Illinois River National Wildlife and Fish Refuges near Havana, which include Lake Chautauqua.

Moist soil plants like nutsedge, teal lovegrass and smartweed became established this summer following an August drawdown.

Albright also said he is anxious for another influx of migrating ducks, soon.

Pintails, mallards, teal, northern shovelers and Canada geese were the most common species.

Bald eagles cruised the east shoreline of the lake looking for crippled ducks and harassing resting flocks.

Illinois hunting and fishing
Most ducks and geese are found on the east side of the north pool. These ducks were viewed from the crossdike near the boat ramp.

Illinois hunting and fishing
A mallard stands in profile on a clump of vegetation. Re-flooding of the north pool is starting to give ducks access to moist soil plants that grew over the late summer months.

Illinois hunting and fishing
Mallards, green-wing teal and Canada geese mingle at Lake Chautauqua.

Illinois hunting and fishing
Shovelers leave trails in shallow water.

Illinois hunting and fishing
Northern shovelers plow through very shallow water to get to a meal Saturday.

Illinois hunting and fishing
Across the Illinois River at the Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge, ducks feed in a flooded corn field.

Related stories

Lake Chautauqua preparing banquet for migrating ducks

Listening to Lee Albright, one might mistake him for a farmer worried about his crops. But instead of growing corn and beans, Albright, manager of the Illinois River National Wildlife and Fish Refuges near Havana, is nurturing sedges, teal lovegrass, barnyard grass, wild millet and smartweed – about 700 acres.

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