Quick Notes for Early Progress

Written by Kevin Fox
Monday, May 18, 2015

Photo of Kevin Fox.The survey is moving along quickly and keeping the crew here quite busy. So much so, that I've only just gotten around to gathering my thoughts on it all to provide the updates below.

5/5 John Bidwell and I started the 2015 survey flying in Stratum 39. The aspens are already leafing out. Vegetation phenology seen early this year.

5/6 We continued with stratum 39. There was less water this year than last year.

5/7 We had a weather day due to low ceilings.

5/8 We got a little later start due to weather, but the freezing mist ended around 8 am and we departed to re-fly the air-ground "Melita." Conditions are less than average for moisture. We completed stratum 39.

5/9 Started stratum 35 in southern Saskatchewan. Seeing more average moisture.

5/10-12 We flew Stratums 35 and 34. Moisture looks more normal here. Habitat looks good and we’re seeing a lot of waterfowl.

5/13 We completed stratum 38, and saw very little waterfowl habitat. Almost all of the landscape is in agriculture. Waterfowl limited to mostly dugouts/farm ponds.

5/14 We had weather day.

5/15 Finished up stratums 34 and 35. Habitat looks good. Lots of waterfowl.

5/17-18 We had two consecutive weather days, with freezing rain and high winds. Snow was reported north of Brandon. Brandon received over an inch of rain. This weather event may improve habitat conditions seen on some of the first areas we do in stratum 39. Our plan is to fly Stratum 40 tomorrow.

View of southern Manitoba, southeast of Brandon. Photo Credit: Kevin Fox, USFWS

View of southern Manitoba, southeast of Brandon. Photo Credit: Kevin Fox, USFWS

Ponds in stratum 35 are full to the margins. Photo Credit: John Fox, USFWS

Ponds in stratum 35 are full to the margins. Photo Credit: John Fox, USFWS

Leaf out is coming early in stratums 34 and 35. Photo Credit: John Fox, USFWS

Leaf out is coming early in stratums 34 and 35. Photo Credit: John Fox, USFWS