We Aren't the Only Observers

Written by Phil Thorpe
Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Photo of Phil Thorpe.The other day, one of the Canadian Wildlife Service biologists was talking to a landowner while completing an air-ground comparison segment. The landowner told the biologist that he saw the plane yesterday and it looks like they got a new one this year. In fact we did start flying a wheeled Quest Kodiak this year. I have always wondered how many people that live on our transect lines recognize us. We see people wave along the way, and some of those people really wave with enthusiasm, almost as if they were waiting for us and spring to come. Since the survey has flown along the same lines for 60+ years in Saskatchewan, some people have grown up with the orange plane flying by their house each May. I had another landowner come out to a rural grass airport that I stopped in for a break one year. He came right up to us and asked, "What are you doing?!". I said, "Counting ducks." He replied with some relief, "Ah, that explains it, for years I've seen you fly by and I assumed that you were doing something with the powerline, but the powerline turns north and you always just kept going east!".

A welcome break after a few hours of concentrating on counting ducks and watching for hazards. Photo Credit: Phil Thorpe, USFWS.

A welcome break after a few hours of concentrating on counting ducks and watching for hazards. Photo Credit: Phil Thorpe, USFWS.