No News is Good News

Written by Tony Roberts
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tony Roberts.As I sit in the hotel in Lewistown, Montana, I’ve enjoyed catching up with the other entries by biologists across the traditional and eastern survey areas. We have been late to contribute to the survey narrative, but only because no news is good news. Due to great weather we have been counting ducks every day with long days in the field. We all enjoy the extensive field work and time outside, but that never lasts! We are now grounded due to 8 plus inches of snow after having mid-80 degree temps just a couple days ago. The weather gives us a chance to catch up on data entry, emails, and other more mundane tasks compared to sneaking up on prairie potholes so we don’t flush ducks, seeing herds of pronghorn and deer, and coming face to face with a porcupine.

Before this most recent rain and snow, the southern portion of our survey area seemed to be wetter than last year, but the landscape has looked drier the further north we go. Our crew consists of Rob Spangler and Brenda Kelly in the airplane and Brad Rogers and myself (Tony Roberts) working on the ground crew. It is always great to work with people from across the country, in our case Colorado, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Maryland. In addition to this mix we had a chance to stop at Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and have a great wildlife chat with the biologists. We covered waterfowl in the west, bison, black-footed ferrets, and more! We look forward to getting back to work, but we will take advantage of time we have to discuss our work, learn about others, and help conserve abundant wildlife populations. Talk soon!

North Dakota prairie in bloom. Photo Credit: Tony Roberts, USFWS.

North Dakota prairie in bloom. Photo Credit: Tony Roberts, USFWS.

Snow in Montana slowing down the survey. Photo Credit: Tony Roberts, USFWS.

Snow in Montana slowing down the survey. Photo Credit: Tony Roberts, USFWS.