Northern Quebec

Written by Jim Wortham
Saturday, June 07, 2014

Photo of Jim Wortham.We have completed western Ontario and moved into northern Quebec. Conditions here are drier than Ontario, and slightly dry for this area. It has been two years since I have seen this area and it appears many fires have moved through the area since my last visit. One of these fires was still active in the southern portion of our crew area, but the smoke wasn’t yet thick enough to prevent us from safely flying the transects.

Fires are a natural part of the ecology in these areas, and are rarely fought unless they threaten a village or important infrastructure. However, it appears that a few of these recent fires burned very hot, and not only were the trees lost, but the peat, lichens, and any underlying thin soil was completely incinerated down to the bedrock in areas. We have found that it takes ducks several years to return to make full use of these burned areas, and sure enough, our observations were lighter in these areas than in past years.

We have enjoyed a great string of good weather, allowing us to make great progress, but the weather finally caught up to us in Wabush, Labrador, where we have been sitting for several days. Fortunately, this is a great place to be stuck, as the local folks are some of the friendliest anywhere, and they are particularly happy during the time of year when we arrive, as the weather is getting warmer and the ice is out, allowing for fishing!

Spring flooding forces creative ways to get to camp!

Spring flooding forces creative ways to get to camp! Photo by Jim Wortham, USFWS