Smelling the Roses

Written by John Bidwell
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

John BidwellSometimes you just have to sit back and enjoy smelling the roses. For me, that is the case with this year’s survey of Newfoundland and Labrador. The weather has been spectacular and Brian and I have been blessed with pristine conditions. I flew this area as the Biologist/Pilot crew leader from 1999 until 2010 and cannot remember better survey conditions. We have now completed Newfoundland and relocated to Goose Bay, Labrador. When I compare Newfoundland summary files of my observations between 2011 (when I was Mark’s observer/mentor) to this year’s data, numbers and species composition are very similar. Consistency is always important in biological survey work, so crews that work together for extended surveys certainly improve reliability of the final indices.

We completed one transect in southern Labrador. Again, I noticed early phenology extending from the eastern coast 180 miles into the interior. We did, however, observe more ice and snow at higher elevations (above 2000 feet mean sea level). Temperatures today are approaching the mid to high 70’s (Fahrenheit) with strong southerly winds. These conditions should help increase thawing and ice-out at higher elevations. We hope to be surveying tomorrow and if all goes well finish the survey before Memorial Day.

Grand Lake near Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Photo Credit: John Bidwell, USFWS.

Grand Lake near Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Photo Credit: John Bidwell, USFWS.

A spectacular fjord along the south shore of Newfoundland. Photo Credit: John Bidwell, USFWS.

A spectacular fjord along the south shore of Newfoundland. Photo Credit: John Bidwell, USFWS.

Caribou calving ground in central Newfoundland - can you count the Caribou in this photo? Photo Credit: John Bidwell, USFWS.

Caribou calving ground in central Newfoundland - can you count the Caribou in this photo? Photo Credit: John Bidwell, USFWS.

Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland. Photo Credit: John Bidwell, USFWS.

Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland. Photo Credit: John Bidwell, USFWS.

Pristine survey conditions - view of Gros Morne National Park on the west coast of Newfoundland. Photo Credit: John Bidwell, USFWS.

Pristine survey conditions - view of Gros Morne National Park on the west coast of Newfoundland

Ice-out is still progressing at higher elevations in Labrador. Photo Credit: John Bidwell, USFWS.

Ice-out is still progressing at higher elevations in Labrador. Photo Credit: John Bidwell, USFWS.