Survey completed in Alaska and Yukon Territory

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Written by Ed Mallek
Sunday, June 07, 2009

We have completed the survey! We surveyed the Kotzebue Sound area (Kotzebue to Bettles), the Old Crow Flats area and the Nelchina Basin area. The Kotzebue Sound area survey went as planned, with decent numbers of waterfowl and good survey conditions. The Old Crow Flats area is in Yukon Territory, Canada. This area holds large numbers of white-winged scoters and lesser scaup (as well as numerous dabblers). To survey the Old Crow Flats, we flew the survey aircraft from Bettles to Fort Yukon and put on additional fuel. We then flew from Fort Yukon to the Old Crow Flats, conducted our survey, and returned to Fairbanks. The lakes on the Old Crow Flats were less icy than in recent years and scoter and scaup numbers were relatively high there. Our last survey area was the Nelchina Basin. This basin is significantly higher than other interior Alaska survey areas (>1,500 feet above sea level compared to <700 feet above sea level for other interior Alaska survey areas). Due to this increased elevation and resultant late spring arrival, this area is surveyed last. We flew from Fairbanks to the Nelchina Basin, surveyed the Nelchina Basin, landed at Gulkana to put on some additional fuel, and flew to Anchorage for the completion of the survey.

The 2009 Alaska-Yukon Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey went well with no significant problems. We expect some duck numbers to be down slightly from recent years, perhaps due to good nesting conditions further south.