Alberta Ground Crew Begins Survey

Written by Garnet Raven
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Photo of Garnet Raven.The Alberta ground survey crew finally got started today, after bad weather kept our pilot grounded on the 9th and 10th. However, the 11th brought sunny skies and light winds with a favorable forecast for the coming week and we’ve been very busy ever since. We were able to complete 2 air-ground segments on May 11th in the southeast corner of the province. Wetland conditions were improved over last year’s dry spring and duck numbers were representative of that improvement. On May 12th we completed one segment south of Lethbridge and 2 segments just north of the Cypress Hills. The Cypress Hills got hit hard by the latest spring storm with over 2 feet of snow falling in the highlands. Most of the snow on our air-grounds had melted by the time we surveyed, but the melt-water remained. We observed near record numbers of ducks on these segments and more pintails were observed in this area than we have seen in several years. On May 13th we surveyed three air-ground segments south of Calgary and we found that moisture levels were considerably less than those observed in the southeast portion of the province. Duck numbers and wetland conditions were about average in this area. Over the next 3 days we completed the rest of our segments in the prairies and found varying conditions. Some areas got hit harder than others by the spring storms. Areas along the Saskatchewan border were quite dry, while conditions and duck numbers around Hanna were above average.

Over the next few days we will make our way up through the Alberta prairie parklands. We are expecting to see good numbers of ducks and decent moisture levels in portions of east-central Alberta, although it sounds like some areas will be better than others. The prairie parklands contain an abundance of deeper, more permanent wetlands compared to the southern grasslands and are thus better able to withstand dry periods and still provide favorable conditions for breeding ducks. We observed good numbers of ducks in this area last year and expect conditions will be at least as good this year.

Left to right in the crew photo: Steve Leach - Env. Canada, Mike Watmough - CWS, Jason Caswell - ASRD, Nathan Clements - CWF, Jim Leafloor - CWS, Michael Burak - CWS, Anja Sorensen - CWS, Garnet Raven - CWS, Dogs - Merlin, Rosy, Ruger.

Left to right in the crew photo: Steve Leach - Env. Canada, Mike Watmough - CWS, Jason Caswell - ASRD, Nathan Clements - CWF, Jim Leafloor - CWS, Michael Burak - CWS, Anja Sorensen - CWS, Garnet Raven - CWS, Dogs - Merlin, Rosy, Ruger. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

AB air crew surveys the Cereal air-ground southeast of Hanna, AB on May 14th.

AB air crew surveys the Cereal air-ground southeast of Hanna, AB on May 14th. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

Mike Watmough confirms a wetland on the Cereal air-ground is dry.

Mike Watmough confirms a wetland on the Cereal air-ground is dry. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

Garnet Raven surveys a road-side pond on the Walsh air-ground.

Garnet Raven surveys a road-side pond on the Walsh air-ground. Credit: Mike Watmough, CWS

Two American Avocets flying over a wetland on the Hanna air-ground. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

Two American Avocets flying over a wetland on the Hanna air-ground. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

Melting snow and wet conditions on the Walsh air-ground in southeastern AB. credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

Melting snow and wet conditions on the Walsh air-ground in southeastern AB. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

A Loggerhead Shrike along the Cereal air-ground. credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

A Loggerhead Shrike along the Cereal air-ground. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

A pond on the Farrow air-ground south of Calgary. Credit: Jim Leafloor, CWS

A pond on the Farrow air-ground south of Calgary. Credit: Jim Leafloor, CWS

Air crew flying over the Bow Island air-ground. Credit: Jim Leafloor, CWS

Air crew flying over the Bow Island air-ground. Credit: Jim Leafloor, CWS

An irrigation canal on the Stirling air-ground south of Lethbridge.  Credit: Jim Leafloor, CWS

An irrigation canal on the Stirling air-ground south of Lethbridge. Credit: Jim Leafloor, CWS

A temporary wetland in an area of intensive agriculture on the Bow Island air-ground. Credit: Jim Leafloor, CWS

A temporary wetland in an area of intensive agriculture on the Bow Island air-ground. Credit: Jim Leafloor, CWS

A wetland along the Spondin air-ground north of Hanna, AB. Credit: Jim Leafloor, CWS

A wetland along the Spondin air-ground north of Hanna, AB. Credit: Jim Leafloor, CWS

A wetland with many mallard drakes on the Farrow air-ground, May 13th. Credit: Jim Leafloor, CWS

A wetland with many mallard drakes on the Farrow air-ground, May 13th. Credit: Jim Leafloor, CWS

A dry and recently cleared wetland on the Daysland air-ground in central AB. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

A dry and recently cleared wetland on the Daysland air-ground in central AB. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS