Habitat conditions generally good in northern Alberta and BC

Written by Fred Roetker
Friday, June 05, 2009

Photo of Fred Roetker.A late spring delayed our start, and wind and weather have slowed us down a bit, but Carl Ferguson and I have finished our survey of northern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia. We are currently in Norman Wells, NWT. Habitat conditions are generally good across this survey area. Wetlands conditions vary as winter precipitation varied across the region. A fairly dry spring has limited the widespread flooding that often impacts early nesters. The important small wetlands often created by beaver dams appear to be in ideal condition. Although this is a late spring, there was an early warm up in some regions, which evidently allowed some early nesters to get underway in the smaller beaver flowages, ponds, and along miles and miles of small streams in this area. We are seeing flocked mallard drakes in these habitats, suggesting that some birds got an early start. However, the long lasting, severely cold winter is causing a delayed ice break up on the larger lakes. Consequently, we are still seeing groups of scaup and scoters in open leads along shorelines. However, we are also observing strong numbers of pairs and drakes of these species in the smaller wetlands. We plan to leave Norman Wells tomorrow, cross the Arctic Circle and finish the survey from Colville Lake and Inuvik.

Typical NWT small wetland. Credit Carl Ferguson (USFWS)

Typical NWT small wetland. Credit Carl Ferguson (USFWS)

Grassy shoreline, Peace-Athabasca River Delta. Credit Carl Ferguson (USFWS)

Grassy shoreline, Peace-Athabasca River Delta. Credit Carl Ferguson (USFWS)

Ideal Boreal Habitat, northern Alberta. Credit Carl Ferguson (USFWS)

Ideal Boreal Habitat, northern Alberta. Credit Carl Ferguson (USFWS)