Preparing for survey in Western Dakotas

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Written by Terry Liddick
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Terry LiddickI’m heading to Kearney, Nebraska in the morning to pick up my airplane to start the breeding population survey. It was left there after a sand hill crane survey last month to get a current inspection and a new windshield. I will meet my observer, Mike Rabe, at the Omaha airport and we will shuttle over to Kearney. With luck, the plane will be ready to go Friday morning and we will fly up to Pierre, South Dakota, to prepare to begin the survey. This will be my first year flying this crew area and Mike’s first year as an aerial observer. Mike works for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and I am glad to have him on board this year. We should have a great time. We are hoping to see good conditions, at least in the western Dakotas. I hear the winter was pretty good there with fair amounts of snow. I spent the last 2 weeks getting everything ready, from coordinating the maintenance on the plane; updating maps, charts, and the GPS; making reservations and coordinating with the FAA, Customs and Immigration and the rest of our flyway biologists. It is go time now, so ready or not, the survey begins tomorrow.