Stratum 54 Complete

Written by Stephen D. Earsom
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Photo of Stephen D. Earsom.A string of several good weather days allowed us to complete Stratum 54 today, and we'll spend the night in Kingston, Ontario. For the uninitiated, our May surveys are broken into large geographic areas called strata. Ontario has a total of 8 strata that were delineated in part on timing of waterfowl nesting. This year we are responsible for Strata 54, 52, 51 and 57, which is the order that we'll complete the surveys. One of the indicators we use to determine when to start surveying is the ratio of lone mallard drakes to mallard pairs. Our data through the first three surveys days indicated a 1:1 ratio, which is ideal. Also, water levels appear relatively high, and many farm fields in the southern end of the stratum had standing water. All in all, it looks like a set up for a relatively productive year in this area.

A view of the pilot's side of our Partenavia, N766.  The GPS mounted on the pilot's yoke is the primary tool for navigating along survey lines, and is backed up by the panel mounted GPS as well as the paper chart on the pilot's lap.

A view of the pilot's side of our Partenavia, N766. The GPS mounted on the pilot's yoke is the primary tool for navigating along survey lines, and is backed up by the panel mounted GPS as well as the paper chart on the pilot's lap. Photo by Steve Earsom, USFWS

A view of the right side of the instrument panel in Partenavia N766.  Note the two computers used to capture survey data.  The pilot's computer is mounted on the copilot's yoke, while the observer's computer is on the right wall mostly obscured by Carl's knee.

A view of the right side of the instrument panel in Partenavia N766. Note the two computers used to capture survey data. The pilot's computer is mounted on the copilot's yoke, while the observer's computer is on the right wall mostly obscured by Carl's knee. Photo by Steve Earsom, USFWS

Not all of Canada is a wilderness.  Here's the first Canada goose we saw on a nest during the survey!

Not all of Canada is a wilderness. Here's the first Canada goose we saw on a nest during the survey! Photo by Steve Earsom, USFWS

Morning in southern Ontario near London while enroute to our first survey transect of the day.

Morning in southern Ontario near London while enroute to our first survey transect of the day. Photo by Steve Earsom, USFWS