Six Days Straight...

Written by Phil Thorpe
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Photo of Phil Thorpe.Good flying weather has kept us counting every day for the last 6 days. We finished the grasslands survey strata on Monday and will start on the Aspen Parklands survey units on Wednesday, May 22. I’m down for a required rest day today and have tallied some of the preliminary numbers for the grasslands. Since I’ve had several different observers in recent years, I looked at just my uncorrected counts. I compared this year to the previous 3 years in the larger of the two grasslands strata that I fly. My impressions and my callused recording thumb have proved to be correct and this year my uncorrected counts rank number one for total ducks counted. I’d guess that once the visibility correction factors are applied and the numbers are expanded we will still have a very good estimate from Saskatchewan, at least from the grasslands. The Parklands had above- to well-above average precipitation last summer and after a drier fall the area received well-above average winter snowfall. We are expecting abundant water on the landscape in this region and hopefully abundant ducks too!

Wetlands in the Missouri Coteau west of Moose Jaw were full and will provide good habitat for waterfowl broods this summer.

Wetlands in the Missouri Coteau west of Moose Jaw were full and will provide good habitat for waterfowl broods this summer. Photo by Phil Thorpe, USFWS

It's not great for the farmers, but when this area is wet it works well for the ducks. These survey lines on the west side of the Province near Kindersley can be pretty slow going counting ducks when the area is dry and you have to wait for the next dugout to appear on the horizon. This year the area is wet and we don't have much time to talk between ponds and ducks. This is the wettest I've seen this area in many years.

It's not great for the farmers, but when this area is wet it works well for the ducks. These survey lines on the west side of the Province near Kindersley can be pretty slow going counting ducks when the area is dry and you have to wait for the next dugout to appear on the horizon. This year the area is wet and we don't have much time to talk between ponds and ducks. This is the wettest I've seen this area in many years. Photo by Phil Thorpe, USFWS