Make Mine a Black and Tan

Written by Stephen D. Earsom
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Photo of Stephen D. Earsom.Some folks like amber, others nut brown, but in this part of Ontario you’d better like black and tan. The coniferous forests here exude tannins into every water body; small creeks, lakes and large rivers that would otherwise be crystal clear all have a dark brown hue to them. And the ducks, well they’re all variations on black: from the scoters to the scaup, bufflehead, ring-necks, the occasional long-tail and of courses black ducks…on some days even the mallards start looking a bit monochromatic. It’s all good though, as we continue to see habitat that ranges from good to occasionally excellent with most duck and goose species showing an increase from last year.

I like this commute from the hotel to the office. 13 May 2012.

I like this commute from the hotel to the office. 13 May 2012. Photo by Steve Earsom, USFWS

Bill has been a great observer - he knows his waterfowl and is a great help around the aircraft. He makes a pilot/biologist's job a lot easier! Lake Anjigami, Ontario, 13 May 2012.

Bill has been a great observer - he knows his waterfowl and is a great help around the aircraft. He makes a pilot/biologist's job a lot easier! Lake Anjigami, Ontario, 13 May 2012. Photo by Steve Earsom, USFWS

Bill Berg (Observer) and Steve Earsom (Biologist/Pilot) on survey, 13 May 2012.

Bill Berg (Observer) and Steve Earsom (Biologist/Pilot) on survey, 13 May 2012. Photo by Steve Earsom, USFWS

The many lakes and streams of Ontario provide habitat for many species of waterfowl. Wawa, Ontario, 13 May 2012.

The many lakes and streams of Ontario provide habitat for many species of waterfowl. Wawa, Ontario, 13 May 2012. Photo by Steve Earsom, USFWS

Steve Earsom fueling atop the wing of N723. Timmons, Ontario, 13 May 2012.

Steve Earsom fueling atop the wing of N723. Timmons, Ontario, 13 May 2012. Photo by Bill Berg, USFWS

Steve Earsom and Kodiak N723 on a lunch break in northeastern Ontario. 14 May 2012.

Steve Earsom and Kodiak N723 on a lunch break in northeastern Ontario. 14 May 2012. Photo by Bill Berg, USFWS

The Otter is used for fire suppression by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Retractable tubes in the bottom of the floats can be lowered to allow the aircraft to scoop water out of lakes or rivers while maintaining flying speed. Kapuskasing, Ontario, 15 May 2012.

The Otter is used for fire suppression by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Retractable tubes in the bottom of the floats can be lowered to allow the aircraft to scoop water out of lakes or rivers while maintaining flying speed. Kapuskasing, Ontario, 15 May 2012. Photo by Steve Earsom, USFWS