Another birder reported seeing a flock of 300 Canada in the Ohio River near Gallipolis Ferry, along with 25 green-winged teal, 15 black ducks, a dozen ring-necked ducks, nine redheads, six ruddy ducks, a pair of pintails and a canvasback.
Several reports from Cheat Lake near Morgantown included sightings of long-tailed ducks, ruddy ducks, buffleleads, lesser scaup and tundra swans in addition to the usual mallards and Canada geese.
A Raleigh County birder reported the best "duck count on Stephens Lake in years." The tally included roughly 250 lesser scaup, 46 tundra swans, redheads, gadwalls, mallards, ruddy ducks, buffleheads and ring-necked ducks.
The current weather pattern has Hackathorn hoping that "winter keeps doing what winter is supposed to do.
"When we get a lot of birds pushed down here from the north, our hunters generally have a good time," he said. "We average about 3,000 birds when the weather is good. When the weather is not so good, you can cut that number in half."
The weather doesn't always cooperate. During unusually mild winters, few migrant waterfowl venture into the state. Duck hunters know from experience, though, that a string of "Alberta Clipper" winter storms can add both numbers and variety.
"That's why hunters want as many days at the back end of the season as they can possibly get, and that's why we try to oblige their request," Wilson explained.
This year, 47 days of the 65-day waterfowl season have been scheduled for the winter segment. That segment, which began on Monday, will end on Jan. 31.
Reach John McCoy at 304-348-1231 or johnmc...@wvgazette.com.