Stratum 50 is a Little Drier

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Written by Brad Pendley
Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Photo of Brad Pendley.As we finish up the fifth of five transects in Stratum 50 it is noticeably drier than last year. While many of the beaver ponds are still there, they are only about half full. This is in marked contrast to last year, when the ponds were not only full to the edge, but often flooded into the tree line. With that said, there is still plenty of water, and we are seeing ducks.

This area has a wide range of species, but the 3 most common are mallards, goldeneyes, and mergansers. These transects cover a wide range of habitat types, from huge lakes with some ice on them, to wide rivers and finally small wetlands like the aforementioned beaver ponds. The mallards can be seen on any of the 3 but the goldeneye and mergansers are often on the bigger waters.

We hope to finish up Stratum 50 over the next day or two and then move on to Stratum 69 in Quebec. After flying both last year I know we will be in for a major change. The use of English will diminish and the amount of big water and black ducks will increase. The terrain will also change from relatively flat in Ontario to the rollercoaster hills of Quebec. The lichen fields will start to appear and the caribou will too. I can’t wait to see it again and I’ll give you an update when we start. Au revoir for now.

Western Ontario beaver pond.

Western Ontario beaver pond. Photo by Jim Wortham, USFWS