Done, But Not Done

Written by Jim Bredy
Friday, May 25, 2012

Photo of Jim Bredy.Jay Hitchcock and I finished the survey area yesterday morning. It was a total joy and pleasure working with this dedicated wildlife biologist and avid waterfowl man from White River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas. I have described my impressions of the survey and habitat conditions with the previous posts and photographs. In summary, there are significantly fewer ponds than last year. Several spring storms assisted in maintaining water levels in ponds, which will be beneficial to nesting waterfowl. Our raw duck count showed more ducks than last year, in part due to good 2011 production, and a lower than expected harvest during the last hunting season. Other neighboring habitat areas are also dry, making the returning birds more concentrated on the present water. The production and fall flight will be dependent in part on the continuing spring storms and the quality of the wetlands throughout the summer brood rearing period.

Today I visited with the Canadian Wildlife Service Ground Crew Leader, Garnet Raven. We discussed the survey and went over our survey notes and preliminary findings. He was kind enough to invite me over to his house, where I enjoyed an incredible moose roast supper with his family. We then sat in his living room and reminisced about past surveys, and plans for future ones, all while watching the Eastern Conference Stanley Cup finals.

Due to some aircraft issues in another crew area, I will be heading to Flin Flon, Manitoba, on Sunday. Rob Spangler (Southern Manitoba crew area) and I will fly Stratum 24 in Northern Manitoba. We ask that you pray for good weather for us and a safe return home. So, even though I am done (with flying Southern and Central Alberta), I am not done (with flying Northern Manitoba).

From Southern and Central Alberta, until next year, I bid you farewell. I wish you well in all of your outdoor pursuits!

This photo is located approximately 10 miles east of Spirit River, Alberta, in the heart of Stratum 76. This field was mostly dry earlier in the week. It was taken after a two day rain event. Much of the water in the basins is

This photo is located approximately 10 miles east of Spirit River, Alberta, in the heart of Stratum 76. This field was mostly dry earlier in the week. It was taken after a two day rain event. Much of the water in the basins is "sheet" water, and will most likely be gone within a week, especially the wetland basins that have been plowed through when they were dry. The rain, however, will assist in maintaining the water level in the wetland basins already present with standing water, and will benefit nesting waterfowl. Even though the Peace Country is in the middle of a dry cycle, this photo demonstrates the potential for wetlands for nesting waterfowl, when a wet weather pattern returns. Photo by Jay Hitchcock, US FWS