Atlantic Crew Finishes 2010 Survey

Written by John Bidwell
Saturday, May 29, 2010

Photo of John Bidwell.Rob Spangler and I completed the 2010 Atlantic crew area survey on May 29. Rob arrived in Bangor, Maine, on April 26 in anticipation of an early survey start. Spring was advanced at least three weeks in Maine and the Maritime Provinces, so plans and preparations were made to start the last week of April. Weather, however, did not cooperate and our start was delayed until May 1. I took that opportunity to give Rob a thorough orientation and briefing about the crew area, aircraft and survey procedures. Our survey was on schedule until May 12 when we experienced our first weather delay in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At that point, the battle was on with retrograding low pressure systems that typically plague the Atlantic Provinces. Fortunately, enough weather breaks allowed us to finish on May 29. Survey timing was late through Stratum 66 (Newfoundland), but a cold and snowy March and April in Stratum 67 (Labrador) slowed spring nesting phenology so survey timing was normal, albeit birds were concentrated in open wetlands and ponds. We classified the conditions as excellent from Maine northeast to Newfoundland, but only good in Labrador, because of persistent ice and snow at higher elevations. Overall, 2010 duck and goose recruitment should be normal to above normal for the Atlantic crew area.

Clouds reflected in a Labrador Lake. (Credit:  R. Spangler, USFWS)

Clouds reflected in a Labrador Lake. Credit: R. Spangler, USFWS

Pilot John Bidwell and N766 nearing the end of the 2010 survey. (Credit:  R. Spangler, USFWS)

Pilot John Bidwell and N766 nearing the end of the 2010 survey. Credit: R. Spangler, USFWS

Waterfowl habitat in Labrador. (Credit:  R. Spangler, USFWS)

Waterfowl habitat in Labrador. Credit: R. Spangler, USFWS

Waterfowl habitat in Labrador. (Credit:  R. Spangler, USFWS)

Waterfowl habitat in Labrador. Credit: R. Spangler, USFWS

Some lakes still frozen in Labrador. (Credit:  R. Spangler, USFWS)

Some lakes still frozen in Labrador. Credit: R. Spangler, USFWS

Gros Morne in northern Newfoundland. (Credit:  R. Spangler, USFWS)

Gros Morne in northern Newfoundland. Credit: R. Spangler, USFWS