Alberta Ground Crew Begins Survey

Written by Garnet Raven
Monday, May 13, 2013

Photo of Garnet Raven.The Alberta ground crew for the waterfowl breeding population and habitat survey gathered in Medicine Hat, Alberta, on Wednesday, May 8th. During the drive down from Edmonton we witnessed some good wetland conditions through the parklands. Conditions were variable further south, in the prairies. Although Alberta received good snowpack over the winter, it appears that much of the melt water is quickly getting absorbed by the thirsty soil. Our air crew, pilot Jim Bredy and observer Jay Hitchcock, was able to survey the two southernmost transects on the 9th so our ground crew was also able to begin the 2013 survey. Our Manyberries transect was about average for ducks and wetlands, while the Pakowki transect was quite dry.

Our ground crew will survey selected segments of each stratum surveyed by the air crew. Our primary objective is to get a complete count of all waterfowl and wetlands present on the air-ground comparison segments. These counts will provide correction factors for visibility biases of the aerial counts. Visibility biases are known to exist for all aerial observers. These biases change between years as a result of varying conditions. We have 24 air-ground comparison segments to complete in Alberta this year. We begin in the southern portion of the province and work our way north, all the way up to the Edmonton area in central Alberta. Stay tuned for more results.

Crew pic. left to right: Murray Gillespie (Ducks Unlimited Canada), Michelle Chupik (Canadian Wildlife Service), Marla Ives (Canadian Wildlife Service), Garnet Raven (Canadian Wildlife Service), Karl Zimmer (Canadian Wildlife Service), Jason Caswell (Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development), Brant Caswell (Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development).

Crew pic. left to right: Murray Gillespie (Ducks Unlimited Canada), Michelle Chupik (Canadian Wildlife Service), Marla Ives (Canadian Wildlife Service), Garnet Raven (Canadian Wildlife Service), Karl Zimmer (Canadian Wildlife Service), Jason Caswell (Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development), Brant Caswell (Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development). Credit: Murray Gillespie, Ducks Unlimited Canada

Alberta air crew Jim Bredy and Jay Hitchcock flying over the Pakowki transect.

Alberta air crew Jim Bredy and Jay Hitchcock flying over the Pakowki transect. Credit: Murray Gillespie, Ducks Unlimited Canada

Alberta ground crew surveying a drawn down wetland on the Pakowki transect.

Alberta ground crew surveying a drawn down wetland on the Pakowki transect. Credit: Murray Gillespie, Ducks Unlimited Canada

A nice  antelope buck on the Manyberries transect.

A nice antelope buck on the Manyberries transect. Credit: Garnet Raven, Canadian Wildlife Service