Southern Manitoba survey completed

Written by Doug Benning
Friday, May 21, 2010

Photo of Doug Benning.We completed the survey on May 20 and are now licking our wounds from flying almost every day since our start. Our unadjusted aerial pond counts are up overall, but down in some strata. As to duck numbers, our best areas were in southeast Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba. However, there were many areas with good water conditions but few ducks. We attribute this to shortstopping of some birds in better conditions south of the Canadian border and perhaps some over-flights of early nesters that encountered quite dry conditions throughout this region in April. The rains during the first week in May made a temporary difference, but much of that moisture has mainly served to recharge soil moisture deficits, with most ponds drawing down considerably afterwards. Rains are falling today and the forecast calls for more tomorrow. As indicated in our earlier report, early nesting was well advanced then and it now appears that the nesting effort was strong by most species. With the abundance of sunshine and recent return of temperatures in the low 80s, nesting and brood rearing cover is in abundant supply. Overall we expect good nesting success and brood survival through much of this unit.

Highest pond densities in our unit. (Credit:  D. Benning, USFWS)

Highest pond densities in our unit. Credit: D. Benning, USFWS

One of the driest areas in our unit. (Credit:  D. Benning, USFWS)

One of the driest areas in our unit. Credit: D. Benning, USFWS

More typical habitat conditions in the prairies this year. (Credit:  D. Benning, USFWS)

More typical habitat conditions in the prairies this year. Credit: D. Benning, USFWS