N705 Is Back in Home Territory

Written by Rob Spangler
Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Rob SpanglerAfter a hiatus of a few years, N705 returns once again to fly the hills of the Western Dakotas and Eastern Montana for the Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey. Both the former Chief, Jim Volzer, and Pilot/Biologist Ray Bentley flew N705, a turbocharged, retractable gear 182 built by Cessna in the year I graduated from high school. I met up with my aerial observer, Jon Klimstra, to test our computer system and tune up our duck ID and transect width. Jon has flown the survey the past few years and he will be a great help to me as I am new to this crew area. We spent a day with our ground crew, Pam Garrettson and Brent West, to go over logistics and track the breeding chronology. It looks like conditions are perfect to start. The divers and geese have moved north and we are seeing pairings of mallard, gadwall, shoveler, blue-winged teal, and northern pintail.

Stratum 44 dry stream and basin.

Stratum 44 dry stream and basin. Photo by Rob Spangler, USFWS

Artificial ponds in western South Dakota nearly dry.

Artificial ponds in western South Dakota nearly dry. Photo by Rob Spangler, USFWS