Since late summer, a prolonged dry period and above-normal temperatures have reduced the effects of the extreme spring flooding. Despite this trend, wetland conditions are still favorable and water levels are more typical for this time of year. Although rainfall has been below average over the past two months, class four wetlands remain flooded well into the vegetation and most class three wetlands also remain wet. Although surface soil conditions are very dry and sun-baked, moisture levels remain favorable beyond the immediate surface.
Field staff have observed the initial stages of migration, with waterfowl flocking and feeding in fields. Following a great waterfowl production year, sportsmen have found ample hunting opportunities in Manitoba this year. Early-season hunters witnessed a large number of blue-winged teals in southwest Manitoba, and the abundance of all species has resulted in mixed bags by the less discretionary hunter. The ever-increasing resident Canada goose population has also provided more than ample opportunity for early-season field hunters.
A cold front that swept through the area around September 13 saw a major exodus of blue-winged teal from the province. This same front coincided with the arrival of large numbers of the cackling Canada geese, as well as small groups of snow geese.
Crop harvest continues to be significantly delayed due to late-maturing crops. This will result in an abundance of food for migrating waterfowl, despite the large number of unseeded acres this spring. A good number of these acres have been sown to winter wheat, which will bode well for nesting birds next spring.