Northern and Eastern Ontario Crew completes Stratum 54

Written by Thom Lewis
Friday, May 14, 2010

Thom LewisAfter waiting for the weather to clear on Wednesday morning, we were able to get a half day of survey work completed. Thursday was our first full day without weather or aircraft delays and we were able to finish stratum 54 and begin Stratum 51. We are now in the Nickel Belt and we have left agriculture behind us for now. As we have moved north, the trees and wetland plants are noticeably “behind” those in the south (spring is a little later), but there is continued evidence that the waterfowl breeding season is well advanced. We’ve seen a few late nesters like blue-winged teal and gadwall that are often missed in this survey area. Drake mallards are getting flocked up, indicating that many hens have already begun incubation. We have also seen some groups of black ducks and ring-necked ducks. The broad range of life history requirements of the multiple species we survey, as well as weather and other conditions beyond our control, make it a challenge to get the timing of the survey exactly right. This year we are a little late, but we are getting a good sample of the breeding season population and habitat conditions.

Even though our emphasis is on waterfowl, we see other interesting wildlife as well. Yesterday, once we got into more heavily forested areas, I saw several black bears, including one sow with three cubs. We have also seen wild turkeys, bald eagles and many other birds in Southern Ontario. Other large mammals we’ve seen include coyotes, deer and a moose. We’ve also met a lot of very nice people. Kevin and I are waiting on the weather this morning in Sudbury, Ontario. I’d rather be surveying, but at least I can now spend some time catching up on computer use and sharing our survey notes with our constituents on the Internet. Thanks for your interest and support.

Nickel mining is important in the "Nickel Belt" near Sudbury, Ontario. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

Nickel mining is important in the "Nickel Belt" near Sudbury, Ontario. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

A lake on line with marsh on one side and houses on the other where Thom saw two pairs of Canada Geese. Video by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.