Southern Alberta Ground Crews Prepare for Survey

Written by Garnet Raven
Friday, May 06, 2011

Garnet RavenThe Alberta ground crew for the waterfowl breeding population and habitat survey is currently gathering in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Some of us drove down from Edmonton today, May 6th. A couple others flew in from Winnipeg and a couple more will arrive via truck from Edmonton tomorrow. I was able to meet up with our air crew on May 4th to start preparing for our upcoming survey. We surveyed habitat conditions from the ground and got a feel for the current local waterfowl phenology. Today I met up with the air crew again and we were able to get up in the air to further survey conditions around Calgary. Wetland conditions looked very good to excellent and the waterfowl phenology was nearly ready to begin our survey.

Our ground crew will survey selected segments of each stratum surveyed by the Alberta air crew of Jim Bredy and Kevin Doherty. Our primary objective is to get a complete count of all waterfowl and wetlands present on the air-ground comparison segments. These counts will provide correction factors for visibility biases of the aerial counts. Visibility biases are known to exist for all aerial observers. These biases change between years as a result of varying conditions. We have 48 air-ground comparison segments to complete in Alberta. We begin in the southern portion of the province and work our way north, all the way up to the Peace country in northwestern Alberta. Tomorrow we will do some final preparations south of Medicine Hat and hopefully, weather permitting, we will begin our survey on Sunday, May 8th.

Impressive wetland conditions on the Pakowki air-ground segment.

Impressive wetland conditions on the Pakowki air-ground segment. Photo by Garnet Raven, Canadian Wildlife Service

A badger surveyed us as we surveyed the Pakowki air-ground segment.

A badger surveyed us as we surveyed the Pakowki air-ground segment. Photo by Garnet Raven, Canadian Wildlife Service

Good wetland conditions can make for difficult survey conditions.

Good wetland conditions can make for difficult survey conditions. Photo by Garnet Raven, Canadian Wildlife Service

Southern Alberta Ground Crew (L to R): Steve Leach (Environment Canada), Jason Caswell (Alberta Sustainable Resource Development), Murray Gillespie (Ducks Unlimited Canada), Joel Ingram (Canadian Wildlife Service), Anja Sorensen (Canadian Wildlife Service), Mike Watmough (Canadian Wildlife Service), Steve Molenkamp (Canadian Wildlife Service), Garnet Raven (Canadian Wildlife Service).

Southern Alberta Ground Crew (L to R): Steve Leach (Environment Canada), Jason Caswell (Alberta Sustainable Resource Development), Murray Gillespie (Ducks Unlimited Canada), Joel Ingram (Canadian Wildlife Service), Anja Sorensen (Canadian Wildlife Service), Mike Watmough (Canadian Wildlife Service), Steve Molenkamp (Canadian Wildlife Service), Garnet Raven (Canadian Wildlife Service). Photo by Garnet Raven, Canadian Wildlife Service

Garnet Raven surveying waterfowl on the Pakowki air-ground survey segment.

Garnet Raven surveying waterfowl on the Pakowki air-ground survey segment. Photo by Murray Gillespie, Ducks Unlimited Canada