Onwards and Upwards

Written by Garnet Raven
Sunday, May 10, 2015

Photo of Garnet Raven.The Alberta ground survey crew has been able to complete stratum 29 and should finish 28 tomorrow. Some of our crew moved on to Hanna today and we plan on surveying stratum 27 from here before moving north to survey stratum 26. Weather has cooperated, allowing us to survey each day since starting on May 7th. Our pilot Jim Bredy and observer Joe Sands missed one day to weather but have been able to stay ahead of us and keep us busy.

Southern Alberta has received very little moisture over the last three weeks. It has allowed farmers to complete most of their seeding operations already. However, it has also dried up many temporary and seasonal wetlands, unfortunately for the ducks.

Although conditions in stratum 29 were quite dry, duck numbers were high where water was available. Wetland conditions in stratum 28 seem fair and moisture levels appear to be improving as we move north. Good production over the last couple of years is giving us relatively high duck totals even though wetland totals are down.

The parklands have been relatively wet over the last few years and they look decent again this year. Hopefully some good production over the last few years will result in high duck numbers this year. Go Ducks!

Several antelope on the Manyberries transect.

Several antelope on the Manyberries transect. Credit: Garnet Raven, Canadian Wildlife Service

A drawn down seasonal wetland on the Manyberries.

A drawn down seasonal wetland on the Manyberries. Credit: Garnet Raven, Canadian Wildlife Service

Antelope can be curious.

Antelope can be curious. Credit: Murray Gillespie, Ducks Unlimited

Two drake cinnamon teal on the Claresholm transect in stratum 29.

Two drake cinnamon teal on the Claresholm transect in stratum 29. Credit: Murray Gillespie, Ducks Unlimited

An unpaired Ring-necked duck hen is harassed by numerous drakes.

An unpaired Ring-necked duck hen is harassed by numerous drakes. Credit: Murray Gillespie, Ducks Unlimited

A meadowlark singing to a young antelope buck on the Manyberries transect.

A meadowlark singing to a young antelope buck on the Manyberries transect. Credit: Murray Gillespie, Ducks Unlimited