Otago Fish & Game finds mallards ducking for cover
- Richie Cosgrove
Otago Fish & Game officer Paul van Klink has just completed the annual mallard monitoring flights over coastal and South Otago.
With duck season opening on the 4th of May, many hunters have been eagerly awaiting the results.
“Total numbers are well up on last year and on par with 2015-2017,” says van Klink.
“It was interesting to see how the ducks were spread throughout the region. The pattern was different from previous years,” he says.
“Many smaller ponds were much lower or completely dry with no ducks at all.
Mallards were in good numbers in larger ponds and along the river transects, especially the Taieri and the Pomahaka.
Mr Van Klink said the results backed up what the Metservice and farmers had been saying – It has been very dry in south Otago, so several ponds lacked enough water and habitat to support mallard populations.
The Southland and Central South Island counts were way up from the previous years and van Klink suggested that while the data didn’t show a large increase in Otago, hunters should be very happy with the numbers overall with positive numbers seen in North Canterbury too.
Recent rain in Otago should have helped the situation and hopefully, the ducks will spread out among the smaller ponds dotted around the countryside - just in time for opening.