Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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Jeff Lampe
Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors
 

Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Illinois hunting and fishing

April 22: Picture of the Day

April 22, 2010 at 02:38 PM

I’ve spent the past few mornings searching for goslings, having seen a recent picture out of Tennessee with a pair of honkers and their brood. So far I’ve not seen any little honkers. That should change any day now.

Much harder to find are little ducklings, at least in my neck of strip-mine country. But there’s reason to think that will change this spring.

For one thing, I’m paying closer attention to every puddle in the area. As part of that daily search for the photographable, I’ve been tracking two pairs of local mallards and two pairs of local blue-winged teal. The fact they are still here and paired up tells me they are nesting birds. Then again, I’m no ornithologist. But both species nest fairly extensively in the northern two-thirds of Illinois.

This is one of the teal pairs, whose little wet area can actually use some rain. They are on the scene nearly every time I drive past and today were particularly slow to leave.

Here’s hoping the grassy areas around this spot don’t get mowed any time soon so Momma Teal can raise her brood in peace—and I can photograph them later this spring.

According to “Waterfowl of Illinois” by Steve Havera:

“Blue-winged Teals are among the last dabbling ducks to nest because of their late spring migration and are likely to reach their peak of nesting in Illinois in May. They usually favor grass for nest sites within approximately 200 yards of water, average about 10 eggs per clutch, and have an incubation period of approximately 24 days.”

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