Duck Numbers Average to Awesome

Written by Garnet Raven
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Garnet RavenThe Alberta ground survey crew has been surveying every day since beginning our survey on May 8th. High winds have hindered our air crew a couple of times but fortunately it was on days when we had enough air-grounds already flown to keep us busy. Although winds were too strong for the air-crew, morning conditions were acceptable for our ground surveys with sustained winds below 40km/h.

Conditions in stratum 28 and 27 remained nothing short of awesome with record or near record numbers observed on most air-grounds in eastern Alberta. Surprisingly, although water conditions were likewise impressive in central areas around Calgary, duck numbers were closer to average.

We have moved into the parklands over the last few days and have continued to see much improved moisture levels compared to last year. However, duck numbers, although improved over last year, have not been as impressive as we witnessed on the prairies. We should finish up around the Edmonton area in the next couple of days and then we’ll move on to the Peace Parklands in northwestern Alberta. Many forest fires are burning in northern Alberta and time will tell how that may affect our surveys over the next week.

Joel Ingram (CWS) attempting to survey a wetland on the Scapa air-ground.

Joel Ingram (CWS) attempting to survey a wetland on the Scapa air-ground. Photo by Murray Gillespie

Wet conditions and survey challenges on the Cessford air-ground.

Wet conditions and survey challenges on the Cessford air-ground. Photo by Garnet Raven, Canadian Wildlife Service

A seasonal wetland on the Kirkpatrick air-ground.

A seasonal wetland on the Kirkpatrick air-ground. Photo by Garnet Raven, Canadian Wildlife Service

A nice semi-permanent wetland on the Oyen air-ground.

A nice semi-permanent wetland on the Oyen air-ground. Photo by Murray Gillespie

A group of 4 bull cans (canvasbacks) on the Sedgewick air-ground.

A group of 4 bull cans (canvasbacks) on the Sedgewick air-ground. Photo by Murray Gillespie