All the Usual Suspects

Written by Mike Rabe
Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mike RabeWe started out with a few hours of looking at ducks on Long Lake, which is north of Regina but still south of our survey area. It is always necessary to practice a little bit before the official survey begins. Both Kevin and I have counted ducks from aircraft for years (Kevin more than me) but it always takes a little while to get the eyes and brain both clicking along at 100 knots, our cruising speed for survey work. I come up to speed eventually (I may be slow but I am trainable) and Kevin is finally convinced that I know what I am doing. We head north to the survey area.

We land in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan (guess who this town was named after?) and will spend the first couple of survey days based there. This survey area is mostly boreal forest with lots of small, medium and some fairly large waters. We start the official survey on May 13. Black and white ducks are the rule here and we are counting good numbers of scaup, bufflehead and goldeneye with the occasional ringneck and mallard. In these southern sections of the survey area, conditions look good. The plane is running well and the weather is cooperating. Underway at last!

Kevin (left) and Mike (right) with original ride in Bismarck.

Kevin (left) and Mike (right) with original ride in Bismarck. Photo by Mike Rabe, Arizona Game and Fish Department