Not Much, But We'll Take It

Written by Mark Koneff
Monday, May 26, 2014

Photo of Mark Koneff.After sitting 7 of 8 days in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the air mass over the Maritimes and Gulf of St. Lawrence finally “warmed” enough that we could enter the clouds and ferry to Stephenville, Newfoundland, on Sunday, May 25. We weren’t too hopeful of starting our survey of the “Rock” on Memorial Day morning when we awoke to mountains obscured by fog and mist and a cold drizzle. We were pleasantly surprised however, to see the fog lift by noon, at least enough to clear the ridge tops. Examining the trends in satellite images, it appeared that the clouds were thinning a bit in southern Newfoundland, our first survey area. After getting as much confirmation as possible from the helpful flight briefers at Halifax Flight Information Centre, we decided to launch. While ceilings were low over higher terrain and showers were spotty throughout the flight, visibilities were good and we were able to complete 2 long transects with only one diversion for terrain obscuration. Habitat conditions and survey timing both appear good in southern Newfoundland. Some snow and a little ice were observed only at the highest elevations in the southwest. Good numbers of black ducks, scaup, and a few scoters were observed. Despite the predictably lousy weather, Newfoundland remains my favorite survey strata, and I’ve surveyed or otherwise flown in all major waterfowl breeding areas on the continent. The rugged and unspoiled terrain, deep fjords, high elevation tundra, and stunning waterfalls provide an incredible backdrop and make for some very satisfying days.

Still some snow at the higher elevations in southwest Newfoundland.

Still some snow at the higher elevations in southwest Newfoundland. Photo by Mark Koneff, US FWS

Beautiful fjord on the sourth shore of Newfoundland.

Beautiful fjord on the sourth shore of Newfoundland. Photo by Mark Koneff, US FWS

Low overcast over central Newfoundland tundra.

Low overcast over central Newfoundland tundra. Photo by Mark Koneff, US FWS