Southern Alberta Ground Crew Begins Survey

Written by Garnet Raven
Saturday, May 05, 2012

Photo of Garnet Raven.The Alberta ground crew for the waterfowl breeding population and habitat survey gathered in Medicine Hat, Alberta, on Friday, May 4th. During the drive down from Edmonton we witnessed some good wetland conditions through the parklands. As we entered the southern prairies it was evident things were much dryer than last year. Waterfowl phenology appeared about right for beginning our survey. Our pilot, Jim Bredy, was able to survey the two southernmost transects on the 4th so our ground crew could begin on the 5th.

Our ground crew will survey selected segments of each stratum surveyed by the Alberta air crew of Jim Bredy and Jay Hitchcock. 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 24 air-ground comparison segments to complete in Alberta this year. We begin in the southern portion of the province and will work our way north, all the way up to the Edmonton area in central Alberta.

Crew picture from left to right: Garnet Raven (Canadian Wildlife Service), Kim Jones (Canadian Wildlife Service), Murray Gillespie (Ducks Unlimited Canada), Jason Caswell (Alberta Sustainable Resource Development), Luke Smith (Canadian Wildlife Service), Richard Wiacek (Canadian Wildlife Service), Mike Watmough (Canadian Wildlife Service).

Crew picture from left to right: Garnet Raven (Canadian Wildlife Service), Kim Jones (Canadian Wildlife Service), Murray Gillespie (Ducks Unlimited Canada), Jason Caswell (Alberta Sustainable Resource Development), Luke Smith (Canadian Wildlife Service), Richard Wiacek (Canadian Wildlife Service), Mike Watmough (Canadian Wildlife Service). Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

A prairie rattler near the Manyberries air-ground.

A prairie rattler near the Manyberries air-ground. Credit: Murray Gillespie, Ducks Unlimited Canada

The results of a quick prairie snowstorm near the Stirling air-ground in southern Alberta.

The results of a quick prairie snowstorm near the Stirling air-ground in southern Alberta. Credit: Michael Watmough, CWS

A nice wetland with Eared Grebes on the Pakowki air-ground.

A nice wetland with Eared Grebes on the Pakowki air-ground. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS