Survey Begun, But Now We Wait

Written by Karen Bollinger
Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Karen BollingerWe flew the first actual transects of the southern Manitoba survey on Sunday, 8 May. Weather has prevented us from flying any transects since then, but it’s looking like we should be back in the air the next few days.

Timing for the survey appears to be good – we’re seeing equal numbers of mallard single drakes and mallard pairs; several blue-wing teal in pairs with spares; pintails now showing up; good numbers of shovelers, gadwalls, canvasbacks, redheads, and scaup. Leaf-out has just barely begun – which is about 1.5 weeks late.

The big news from Brandon is the current flooding of the Assiniboine River. They are calling it a 300-year flood. The two main streets into town from the TransCanada Highway (and the airport) cross the Assiniboine River and are both “sandbag alleys.” The current dikes have been reinforced; “super” sandbags stacked 3 high and double wide; multiple pumps running to pump the water that has gotten through the sand bags back to the other side of the wall of water. An area on the south side of the river was evacuated – including the hotel where we had previously been staying – our old standby – the Redwood. How all this water in southern Manitoba relates to numbers of ducks remains to be seen. Stay tuned.

Installation of ‘super’ sandbags along the Assiniboine River, Brandon, Manitoba.

Installation of ‘super’ sandbags along the Assiniboine River, Brandon, Manitoba. Photo by Rob Spangler, USFWS

Installed ‘super’ sandbags and pumps running to keep the water behind the sandbags.

Installed ‘super’ sandbags and pumps running to keep the water behind the sandbags. Photo by Rob Spangler, USFWS

Flooded Assiniboine River, Brandon, Manitoba – near peak of water level – 9 May 2011.

Flooded Assiniboine River, Brandon, Manitoba – near peak of water level – 9 May 2011. Photo by Rob Spangler, USFWS