The mottled duck is indigenous to Southeast Texas. It doesn't migrate as it resides and nests in the area. The ducks have disappeared at an alarming rate in recent years. Some disappearances were attributed to habitat loss as well as due to more dominant species breeding with this species and diluting the gene pool. Wildlife biologists have captured and banded several hundred mottled ducks this summer.
Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise
Wildlife biologist Tucker Slack of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department prepares to move an airboat at the Hillebrandt Bayou Spoil Compartment near Port Acres on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2005.
Wildlife biologist Tucker Slack (right) works with interns Victor Gibbs (left) and Randy Watts (center) to bait a capture area at the spoil compartment.
(Left) Tucker Slack (right) prepares a rocket launcher while intern Randy Watts (left) spreads bait rice. When enough ducks are in the capture area, the rockets and attached net are fired over the ducks to safely contain them for banding.
(Below) Tucker Slack (left) attaches a net and arms rockets at the spoil compartment.
Tucker Slack (left) checks the armed rockets as intern Randy Watts enters a duck blind (right).
Tucker Slack takes the airboat across the spoil compartment to a hiding position. When the interns fire the rockets and capture ducks he will return to help band the birds. The team has captured and banded several hundred mottled ducks over the summer.
Tucker Slack waits in a hiding position across the spoil compartment from the duck blind. Like many nights, not enough mottled ducks entered the capture area to justify firing the rockets.
A stuffed mottled duck is on display at J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area near Port Arthur. Males of the species have an evenly colored bill.
A stuffed mottled duck is on display at J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area near Port Arthur. Males of the species do not have a white stripe on their wings as mallards do.
Please read "Duck downturn" by Christine Rappleye.
I know the images are redundant. Feel free to let me know which ones should be cut for competition (natural science photo story category).