Spring coming early in Saskatchewan

Written by Phil Thorpe
Friday, April 16, 2010

Photo of Phil Thorpe. What a difference a year makes. Last year was one of the latest arriving springs in a long time; this year it is coming early. Coordination with the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) began the first week in April. They started running some transects to record what duck species are present and how the ducks are socially organized – groups or pairs or singles. As of early April, mallards, pintails, and shovelers were present at the Saskatoon latitude. No snow was on the ground and some ponds were already ice free. This translates into an earlier than normal spring phenology.

Given the early arrival of spring, we will likely move the start date of the aerial survey up a few days. Spring conditions can change dramatically, so we will be in contact with the CWS crew and plan our survey timing to best estimate the breeding population in southern Saskatchewan.

My observer from last year, Pat Devers, is returning. This is a big relief. Having someone that has been through a survey reduces some of the workload on the crew leader.

Pilot biologist Phil Thorpe (R) and observer Patrick Devers (L) prepare for survey.

Pilot biologist Phil Thorpe (R) and observer Patrick Devers (L) prepare for survey.