Conditions Excellent

Written by Doug Benning
Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Photo of Doug Benning.After starting our survey flights on May 2, we have lost only 1 day to poor weather so far—seven straight days of surveys to date and the weather forecast looks good for the remainder of this week. This survey area experienced a mild and dry late summer, fall and winter following the “gully washer” of a spring in 2011. However, along with the residual water from last year’s record conditions, heavy precipitation in April and early May across much of the unit has led to excellent wetland conditions across most areas surveyed to date. Both vegetative phenology and nesting chronology are timed normally, primarily due to the cool and wet conditions that prevailed in April following the mild early spring conditions prevalent in March. Between the recent moisture, the warming temperatures, and clearing skies this week, vegetative growth should progress rapidly and will very likely lead to better than average brood rearing vegetative cover. Combined with the abundant and full wetlands witnessed so far, we are expecting nesting success and brood survival to be excellent this year.

Ponds are not scarce in Stratum 39 of the survey.

Ponds are not scarce in Stratum 39 of the survey. Photo by Rob Spangler, USFWS

Conditions are looking excellent in this overhead view of Stratum 35.

Conditions are looking excellent in this overhead view of Stratum 35. Photo by Rob Spangler, USFWS