Please Sign In

Please enter a valid username and password
  • Log in with Facebook
» Not a member? Take a moment to register
» Forgot Username or Password

Why Register?
Signing up could earn you gear (click here to learn how)! It also keeps offensive content off our site.

PrinterPrint EMail Email Share This Icon Share

Atlantic
Flyway

Michael R. Shea received his duck hunting education chasing green-winged teal in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Since moving back east, he has been hunting puddlers in eastern Connecticut and divers and sea ducks on the Rhode Island coast. Shea has served as video editor for Field & Stream and Outdoor Life and has written for both magazines, as well as for Ducks Unlimited.

Atlantic
Real-Time Updates From The Atlantic
  • February 1, 2013

    It Was a Most Interesting Duck Season

    1

    By Michael R. Shea

    Erratic weather, a late bird migration, and Super Storm Sandy characterized the 2012-2013 East Coast waterfowl season. For hunters at the right latitude, it was a banner year; while those more south had to work against drought, warm temps and irregular flights.
     
    The season opened with high hopes. Drought had plagued most of the country all summer, and while water levels were low along the Atlantic flyway, it didn’t compare to other regions where water was nonexistent. There seemed to be enough fresh water down most of the Atlantic flyway for migrators to stick around. If anything, the lack of water would help concentrate birds, it was thought. There was plenty of duck food incubating, too, as moist-soil vegetation took hold in dry creek beds and empty backwater beaver ponds. When early fall rains moved through, it was a veritable duck buffet most places north and south. [ Read Full Post ]

  • January 25, 2013

    Bluebills, Geese, Swans at the End of the Season

    2

    By Michael R. Shea

    It has not been the best of duck seasons. Better than last year for most, yes, but warm weather, drought and abundant food resources have made it challenging for many hunters, myself included. Yet despite it all, there have been days of great shooting. For me, no surprise, the last day of the season here in Rhode Island was hands-down the best one.
     
    We went into Narragansett Bay for a late Saturday hunt, which quickly turned into a scouting trip. On Sunday morning we were back, on the X with hundreds of bluebills overhead riding the 30-knot winds. Hunting from the boat, tucked into a lee thick with cattails and marsh grass, with 80 decoys out front – mostly old Herter’s foam bodies, as you can see in the photo above– it didn’t take long for the birds to commit. The dekes were close, 15 yards out, and the scaup and a few buffies nearly landed in the boat. [ Read Full Post ]

  • January 15, 2013

    Warmer Weather Cools Off Shooting

    0

    By Michael R. Shea

    The National Climatic Data Center just released its state of the climate overview, confirming what bird hunters have suspected all season long: 2012 was the warmest year on record for the United States. [ Read Full Post ]

  • January 8, 2013

    Peak Bird Numbers in Many Places

    1

    By Michael R. Shea

    With my truck in the shop and no way to tow the boat, I spent Saturday scouting for walk-in spots. Not five minutes from my house, on one of the big coastal ponds here in southern Rhode Island, I found open water and three-dozen black ducks. Right away I called my young cousin Johnny McConnell and asked him if he wanted to see how this thing called duck hunting works. [ Read Full Post ]

  • January 3, 2013

    Mid-Atlantic Duck Hunters: Go Now!

    1

    By Michael R. Shea

    Atlantic flyway duck hunters got what they wanted this holiday season: cold weather. On Christmas Eve temperatures started falling in the northeast, and they have stayed low through New Year. That, plus 4 to 24 inches of new snow in much of New England has ducks pushing south to mid-Atlantic and coastal regions in numbers like we haven’t seen yet this season. [ Read Full Post ]

  • December 21, 2012

    Hunt this Weekend: Winter and Ducks Are on the Horizon

    0

    By Michael R. Shea

    With warm weather and little bird movement on the East Coast this season, it’s been hard to stay optimistic. But Christmas is around the corner, and with it a gift. Temperatures are supposed to drop this weekend, especially in the northern staging grounds that have held steady duck numbers since September. [ Read Full Post ]

  • December 14, 2012

    Warm Weather Has East Coast Seaduck Hunts Suffering

    3

    By Michael R. Shea

    Earlier this week I reported on poor puddle duck hunting along the Atlantic flyway. Well, the bad news extends to seaduck hunters. A survey of guides up and down the coast points to low numbers, high pressure, and hard days on the salt water. 

    “I hate to say it,” said Clifton Ames of Ten Mile Guide Service. “I don’t want to give you a bad report and have no one come hunt, but we’re seeing fewer ducks.” Ames hunts Maine’s mid-coast, traditionally know for some of the best eider hunting in the country, but over the last three or four years, as winters seem to get warmer and warmer, the flocks are getting thinner and thinner.

    “The biggest flocks you’ll see now is 400 and 500 birds,” he said. “Ten years ago it was 10 times that. We’re still getting birds--the guides that are good at it--but the hey day of setting up the decoys and three guys having a limit in the first half hour doesn’t happen any more. The hey day is over.” [ Read Full Post ]

  • December 10, 2012

    Warm, Wet Weather Spreads Ducks Thin

    1

    By Michael R. Shea

    Record highs and wet weather across much of the East Coast has made for poor duck hunting north and south. With little cold weather in sight, it could be a challenging week for Atlantic flyway hunters.

    The shooting wasn’t all bad Monday morning near Block Island sound in Southern Connecticut. The weather was ducky: stiff winds blowing in from offshore gales, steady rain, but warm, with temps in the mid-50s. Black ducks in pairs and triples worked the decoys. Mallards in larger groups of fours, fives, and sixes were around but noncommittal, as were smaller numbers of mergansers and buffleheads. On the same water over the weekend, when the temperatures dipped into the 30s and the fog was thick, some hunters reported quick limits, but we didn’t get close to that Monday.

    Up the coast in Maine the shooting has been slow, too, said Kelsey Sullivan, migratory and upland game bird biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The northern part of the state is frozen solid, but inland water is still open central and south, dispersing the few ducks sticking around. “Inland, I think the birds overflew us,” Sullivan said. “We expected movement a week and a half ago [when it frozen up north] but it never seemed to happen.” [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 29, 2012

    Geese Everywhere; Duck Numbers Good Up North

    2

    By Michael R. Shea

    Atlantic flyway ducks are working south with peak numbers over central New England, while geese seem to be nearly everywhere. A deceiving knot of Canadas in eastern Connecticut gave me fits on Monday; what I thought were a few dozen turned out to be a few hundred.

    As you can see in the video, I was hunting out of a new layout boat, fully grassed, with an Avery Power Hunter layout blind in the cockpit. Low to the water and powered by an electric trolling motor, it’s a deadly rig. At around 2 p.m., I was able to setup just 200 yards or so from the birds. An hour later when I popped a shot, all hell broke loose: A huge raft of geese lifted and came over the decoys, 20 yards off the water, before turning down river. [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 27, 2012

    From DU: Ducks Arriving Early in North Carolina

    0

    By Kyle Wintersteen

    The sun's rays had yet to fully illuminate North Carolina's famed Currituck Sound, but the long, slender silhouettes buzzing the decoys were unmistakably pintails. They made one pass, banked back into the wind and danced gracefully into the blocks. Ducks Unlimited member Erinn Otterson of Virginia Beach, Va., picked out a bird, rose to shoot, and was soon admiring his first duck of the North Carolina season - a bull sprig. Not a bad start.

    "We rounded out the day [the opener of the second split on November 10] with eight pintails and a gadwall," Otterson reports. "We've seen a lot of the early migrating dabblers like pintails, gadwalls, and greenwings, but it's a little strange how many scaup we're seeing already. On the first day we saw three groups, and they all had between 50 and 100 ducks. We probably could've shot a few, but we weren't set up for bluebills, especially not in those numbers." [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 21, 2012

    Sea Duck Action Is Taking Off

    0

    By Michael R. Shea

    I’ve spent the last few mornings off the Rhode Island coast chasing sea ducks. As you can see in the video, birds are around, but not yet in the high numbers we like to see. My uncle and main hunting partner Tim Rakovan and I managed to scratch out a few scoters and one drake long-tailed duck, which you can see in the video above, as I had Sony’s new Action Cam on my head during much of the hunt.

    Prime sea ducking usually starts just after Thanksgiving and runs through January in this part of the world. The Atlantic flyway off southern New England is the bottom end of the wintering grounds for eiders, and the are holds some scoters and long-tailed ducks, too. [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 16, 2012

    Many Ducks Are Flying—Just in Time for Hunters

    1

    By Michael R. Shea

    Cold temperatures this week are finally moving ducks south in the Atlantic Flyway. Every state in the flyway is open, or will open, this week or next. Though no serious weather is on the horizon next week, many waterfowl hunters are getting amped for what could be banner hunts.
     
    “It’s looking awesome, awesome, awesome!” said Avery Pro Staffer Sean Fritzges. A civil engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers when he’s not hunting geese, Fritzges oversees dredging in Baltimore harbor and channels through the Chesapeake. “I see waterfowl all day, everyday, but now it’s incredible. There are a lot of birds around and they’re steadily coming.” Maryland’s short season opens on Saturday.
     
    Fritzges hunted last Saturday during Maryland’s youth season with his son and three school friends. By 7:30 a.m. they had three geese on the ground. By 9 a.m. they were one bird shy of an eight-bird limit. “That’s my rule, because that one bird will keep you coming back for more,” said Fritzges, who shared the photo above. “The kids had a blast!” [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 9, 2012

    Storm Stalls Ducks; Geese Blacken the Sky

    0

    By Michael R. Shea

    With Hurricane Sandy last week and a cold front this week, you’d expect good numbers of Atlantic flyway birds hauling for southern climes. But with a few exceptions, recent weather in the northeast has stalled duck migrations. Geese, on the other hand, are being reported in high numbers from Canada down through the Chesapeake.

    “Throughout the Mississippi and Atlantic flyways reports suggest quite slow movement of dabbling ducks south throughout last week with no notable migrations,” the nonprofit conservation group Long Point Waterfowl wrote in their weekly migration report. Long Point uses equations to predict waterfowl migration based on weather (click here to jump to bonus info). Hunters up and down the Atlantic flyway have reported similar drops in duck activity since Sandy.

    If the birds hunkered down and stayed local during the hurricane, you’d think this week’s cold front would push them south. Not really, says Long Point scientist Michael Schummer. [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 2, 2012

    Duck Hunting After Hurricane Sandy

    0

    By Michael R. Shea

    While much of the coastal northeast U.S. is still digging out of Hurricane Sandy’s damage – or just waiting for the lights to come on – biologists are starting to look at the super-storm’s impact on wildlife habitat and migratory bird patterns.
     
    Despite a highy developed shoreline, the New Jersey coast--which was slammed by Sandy--is important waterfowl habitat. There are large swatches of natural areas, such as the 40,000-acre Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. You can see part of it in the photo above, in which a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service employee is inspecting a stranded boat after the hurricane.
     
    The state is a wintering ground for 70 percent of the country’s Atlantic brant. Scoter, eider, long-tailed ducks, blacks and other waterfowl winter in the Garden State, while many other species stop over on trips farther south. [ Read Full Post ]

Page 1 of 212next ›last »
bmxbiz-fs