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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
December 11, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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December 11, 2019

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Spor 4= D :60 WE HAVE IT COVERED IF IT'S PLAYED MONROE OUTDOORS by Terry W. Johnson Black duck on local waters a rare treat 5? its HOME CALENDAR WHNSDAYIICENBRII 4:00 pm. Varsity Wrestling lvs. Howard, Southwest 8. Warner Robins) THURSDAY DECEMBER I2 5:00 pm. C-Ieam Girls Basketball lvs. Clilton Ridge) 6:00 pm. C-Ieam Boys Basketball lvs. Clilton Ridgel 6:00 pm. 9th Grade Boys Basketball lvs. Howardl FRIDAY DECEMBER I3 SATURDAY DECEMBER I4 I0:00 mm. 9th Grade Boys Basketball lvs. Perry) 4:30 pm. JV Boys Basketball lvs. Jacksonl 6:00 pm. Varsity Girls Basketball lvs. Jacksonl 7:30 pm. Varsity Boys Basketball lvs. lacksonl SUNDAY DECEMBER 15 MONDAY DECEMBER I6 5:30 pm. 9th Grade Boys Basketball lvs. GriIfinI 6:45 pm. JV Boys Basketball lvs. Gritfinl TUESDAY DECEMBERI7 5:00 pm. C-Ieam Girls Basketball lvs. Gray Station] 6:00 pm. C-Ieam Boys Basketball lvs. Gray Stationl very so often, you hear or ts December II, 20I9 Francis Kortright expressed this feel- see something that just ing best when he wrote, “The black makes your day. Such an duck is the most sagacious, wary, and ccurrence happened to wildest of all ducks...” me a couple of weeks ago. Black ducks are among the wariest Recently while conducting my of all waterfowl and are difficult to weekly winter bird survey I encoun- tered a flock of close to 400 ducks loafing a few hundred yards from lure into a Set of decoys. When hunt- ing pressure becomes too intense, they have even been known to feed shore. Whenever I find at night long after hunt— a large flock of ducks, I ers have abandoned their count the birds with the blinds. aid of at spotting scope. Throughout much of the As I count the birds, I 20th century, their numbers call out the numbers typically outnumbered oth- of individuals of each er freshwater ducks in the species I see. These Atlantic Flyway. However, numbers are recorded beginning more than half a by my longtime survey century ago (just about the assistant Melissa Hayes. time I began hunting ducks) In this case, I began their numbers started to tallying the birds swim- TERRY w’ JOHNSON plummet. As late as 1952- ming on the left side of 54, the black duck popula- the flock I commenced by working my way through small groups of gadwalls intermixed with American wigeon, green~winged teal, a lesser scaup and a lone ring-necked duck. Near the extreme right side of the flock, I noticed a single mallard-sized sooty-black duck sporting an olive— green bill. I knew in an instant I was looking at a drake black duck--a bird I had not seen in years. What a treat! The black duck’s breeding range extends from the Midwest eastward throughout eastern Canada and the northeastern United States southward to Cape Hatteras. Two-thirds of the birds winter from Long Island to North Carolina, although black ducks also winter in the Deep South. Duck hunters have long held the black duck in high esteem. Perhaps tion was estimated to be 1,310,000. By the period extending from 1959— 62, black duck numbers had dropped to only 804,000 birds. Locally, throughout the 48-year history of the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge/ Rum Creek Wildlife Management Area Christmas Bird, the most black ducks seen on a count were 124 in 1983. Nowadays the bird is rarely spotted. This precipitous decline prompted many waterfowl biologists to fear we may lose the bird. FortUnately, this fear has not been realized. However, this fabulous duck still faces an un— certain future. More than 30 years ago, water- fowl biologists established a winter population goal of 385,000 black ducks as part of the North Ameri- big in Forsyth W r " mum §afles Huge selection of tires... Off Road 0 Mud Tires 0 Street Tires 0 Trucks 0 Jeeps dealer in the South! : MARY PERSONS BUL (a? w $5tatefarm I 281 Trft College Drive - Forsyth, GA 31 029 478-992-9945 HoumMmday-Friday,9am-5:30pm It is now rare to see a black duck in Monroe County, although they were abundant prior to the 1960's. (Photo/US. Fish Wildlife Service) can Waterfowl Management Plan. Unfortunately, while surveys indicate the black duck population is gradu— ally increasing, currently population numbers are less than 30 percent of the goal set for the species. That is one of the reasons why we are allowed to bag only one black duck per day dur- ing the 2019—20 Georgia Waterfowl Hunting Season. A number of possible reasons for the decline of black duck populations have been offered. They range from pollution, habitat less, disease, and one that you probably never suspect- ed-—hybridization with mallards. Canadian, Federal, state and private conservation groups are diligently working to identify and hopefully alleviate the reasons for the declines. For example, governmental agencies are preserving and enhancing black duck habitats throughout the bird’s breeding and wintering grounds. In addition, Ducks Unlimited, the pre— miere private waterfowl conservation organization, has also been active in this area. A prime example of this is Ducks Unlimited’s work in helping conserve 7,600-plus acres of critical black duck tidal marsh habitat along New Jersey and Delaware Bare. This area is the winter home of 60 percent of the black duck population. As for hybridization, it seems that, when given the chance, male inal- lards will often mate with female black ducks. The young produced by “ such unions show physical charac- teristics of both black ducks and mal- lards. Such matings have undoubt— edly gone on for centuries but have become more common since mal- lards have become more abundant in the black duck’s breeding ground. Whereas, historically black ducks far outnumbered mallards in the Atlantic Flyway, the reverse is true today. The results of a study conducted by Penn State biologists demon— strate how serious this problem has become. When they examined 135 wings submitted by hunters from Maine to South Carolina they found more wings came from black/mallard hybrids (48) than black ducks (42) and mallards (45). Unfortunately nobody has formu- lated a solution to this problem. 1 g x 1 Clearly it is going to take a tremen- l dous amount of work by govern— mental agencies and private groups such as Ducks Unlimited to save this precious resource. Meanwhile, I hope I will not have to wait several more years before I see ‘ another black duck. Email Terry Johnson at tjwood— duck@bellsouth. net. Fourteen Bulldogs named to All-Region team Fourteen Mary Persons 3 forced fumbles. . included: freshman quarter— Team all-region choices a year Fine Arts Center. MP head football players received All— Four more Bulldogs were back Logan Hickman, who ago. Howard, who missed coach Brian Nelson said no Region 2-AAAA recognition named 2nd Team All-Region led MP with 1,402 passing most of 2018 with an injury, Bulldog seniors are expected ‘ in 2019. 2—AAAA. These included: yards with 91 completions in was an Honorable Mention to sign during the early college ’_ MP senior all-purpose sophomore center Austin 175 attempts (52.0 percent) all-region selection as a signing period starting on standout Rico Harden was ' Starr, senior defensive tackle with 12 touchdowns and 9 sophomore in 2017. Wednesday, Dec. 18, but he selected by region coaches Jalen Germany, who had 44 interceptions, sophomore left MP will hold its annual sea- said as many as five could ink * on Thursday as the region’s tackles, including 5.5 tackles- guard Jarvis Germany, junior son-ending awards banquet at college letters of intent during Athlete of the Year. Harden for—a-loss while tying for the defensive end Lamont Jones, 6230 pm. on Monday, Jan. 6 at the next signing period begin— led MP in both rushing and team lead with 3.5 sacks, who had 18 tackles, includ— the Monroe County Schools ning on Wednesday, Feb. 5. ‘ receiving, running for 729 junior outside linebacker ing 3.5 tackles-for—a-loss, 1.5 yards and 11 touchdowns on Thomas Warren, who led sacks, 2 pass breakups and Y 135 carries (5.4 yards-per— MP with 90 tackles (42 solo), an interception, senior strong E l- l T E L A N D , carry average) and catching including 6 tackles—for-a—loss, safety Wyatt Currie, who 22 passes for 455 yards and 5 3 sacks, 5 pass breakups, had 44 tackles, including 4 I" touchdowns (20.7 yards-per— 3 fumble recoveries and 1 tackles=for—a—loss, 2 sacks, 6 S E R V I c E S m catch average). As a return forced fumble, and junior pass break-ups and a fumble ‘ gal? flrHafrden retuncil:d 10 comerback Adrian Hughley, recovery, and senior corner- .; 'c o s or 280 yar and a . who had 53 tackles with 1 back Malikk Harris, who had '- . ' touchdown (28.0 yards-per- interception, 14 pass-breakups 30 tackles, includng tackles- F0 reStry “ummng cmarmg ‘ return average) and 4 punts and 2 forced fumbles. for-a-loss and 2 pass breakups. “ for 18 yards. At comerback, Five more Bulldogs were Harden was a lst Team all- _ 9 9 2 _7 0 4 2 Harden led the Bulldogs in named Honorable Mention region selection in 2018 while interceptions with 4 for 120 All-Region 2-AAAA. These Moore and Jackson were 2nd return yards and a touch- , ' , V , . downHealsoledMPwifll ‘ . y 0., , 18 assbreaku sto oalon th da th C] 1: Mg; ,1 W521 530, and: Get Your Home Ready for e Holr ys wr Gleam caning Pros. ;. blocked field goal . ' “ “‘1 - :- . Four Mary Persons play- . I . l ers were named lst Team All-Region 2-AAAA. These included: senior receiver Trippe Moore, who caught 16 passes for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns (11.6 yards-pen catch), senior left tackle Nate Howard, who paved the way for MP to rush for 1,813 yards and 20 touchdowns, senior all-purpose athlete William Stewart, who rushed for 680 yards and 8 touchdowns on 111 carries (6.1 yards-per- carry), caught 6 passes for 26 yards, returned 3 kickoffs for 40 yards, and made 38 tackles on defense, and senior middle linebacker Andre Jackson, who was second on the team in tackles with 80 (41 solo), led the team with 10.5 tackles- for-a-loss while adding 2 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries and 6 n Low Pressure House Wash * fl Roof Cleaning fl Driveways, Walkways, Decks “Your Trusted Cleaning Pros!” (478) 994-051 5 Call or Text RESIDENTIAL ' COMMERCIAL Fully Insured o Uniformed Staff ' HouserCleaning o Maid Service 0 Janitorial Traditional Window Cleaning :