Eastern and Northern Ontario Crew wraps up the 2010 survey

Written by Thom Lewis
Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thom LewisAs we moved north we seemed to catch up with spring. Leaf-out was noticeably later on the deciduous trees, the goslings in goose broods were much younger and waterfowl pairs were more evident. It also dried out as we moved north. The boreal forest regions have much more stable water conditions than other waterfowl habitats like the prairies. However, low winter and growing season precipitation has allowed many areas to dry out, creating fair to poor conditions for waterfowl this spring in stratum 51. Many lake, river and stream levels looked more like it was late summer than spring. In contrast, stratum 54 received ample precipitation and conditions were rated good in most areas. Waterfowl production in eastern Ontario will be impacted by the early spring and variable habitat conditions. Overall production will probably still be good in the south, but only fair to poor in the northern portions of the survey area.

I’d like to thank Kevin Fox for taking time away from his duties in Alaska to fly this survey. He is a great pilot/biologist and I learned a lot from him. Getting the opportunity to fly with experienced pilots like Kevin will help make me a better pilot/biologist as I transition from the right seat as an observer to the left seat as pilot/observer in the near future. If all goes as planned, next year you will be getting my reports and photos from the other side of the survey aircraft. Thanks for all your interest and support. I hope everyone takes the opportunity to enjoy some of North America’s rich waterfowl resources that this survey is instrumental in protecting for future generations.

This video shows an example of one of the larger lakes on line. Video by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

This video shows some typical waterfowl habitat along a creek in Northern Stratum 51. Video by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

The town of Wawa, Ontario erected this huge goose statue overlooking Highway 17 to attract tourism.  The term wawa is derived from the Ojibwe word for wild goose. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

The town of Wawa, Ontario erected this huge goose statue overlooking Highway 17 to attract tourism. The term wawa is derived from the Ojibwe word for wild goose. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

Even in northern sections of the survey area, power lines stretched across the landscape.  Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

Even in northern sections of the survey area, power lines stretched across the landscape. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

Evidence of the dry conditions was apparent around boreal forest lakes that usually provide more stable water conditions for waterfowl. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

Evidence of the dry conditions was apparent around boreal forest lakes that usually provide more stable water conditions for waterfowl. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

Logging is an important economic factor in Ontario.  Huge areas around the towns of Timmins, Kapuskasing and others showed evidence of logging. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

Logging is an important economic factor in Ontario. Huge areas around the towns of Timmins, Kapuskasing and others showed evidence of logging. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

This river in northern stratum 51 had very low flow.  These conditions are more like late summer flow than spring.  Note the extensive rocky shore and exposed bottom.  Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

This river in northern stratum 51 had very low flow. These conditions are more like late summer flow than spring. Note the extensive rocky shore and exposed bottom. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

As we moved north, portions of stratum 51 showed signs of the drought.  Often Muskeg areas like this have much more than just small pockets of open water.  Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

As we moved north, portions of stratum 51 showed signs of the drought. Often Muskeg areas like this have much more than just small pockets of open water. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

We had to dodge light showers to get back to the airport for fuel. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

We had to dodge light showers to get back to the airport for fuel. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

Leaf out was much less advanced in the northern portions of Stratum 51, suggesting we caught up with spring as we moved north.  Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

Leaf out was much less advanced in the northern portions of Stratum 51, suggesting we caught up with spring as we moved north. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

This cooperative mallard drake was on a lake in Sudbury, Ontario. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

This cooperative mallard drake was on a lake in Sudbury, Ontario. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

We found more pairs of mallards as we moved north suggesting that the spring was not as advanced as what we saw in the south. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

We found more pairs of mallards as we moved north suggesting that the spring was not as advanced as what we saw in the south. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

Canada Goose goslings were younger as we moved north.  This family was on a lake in Sudbury, Ontario. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

Canada Goose goslings were younger as we moved north. This family was on a lake in Sudbury, Ontario. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

Returning to "Home Base", Easton, MD. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.

Returning to "Home Base", Easton, MD. Photo by Thomas Lewis/USFWS.