A Mixed Bag in Alberta

Written by Garnet Raven
Monday, June 01, 2015

Photo of Garnet Raven.The Alberta ground survey crew completed our portion of the survey on May 20th. In the parklands (stratum 26) we found generally good conditions. The southeast portion of the stratum was especially wet with almost all ponds full or nearly so. Further to the west it was a bit dryer, but even though many seasonal and temporary ponds in the croplands were drying up, most semi-permanent wetlands were full.

We are now back in Edmonton, working with the data we collected and organizing maps and equipment so it will be ready for next spring. The 2015 survey provided a good glimpse into conditions throughout the prairie and parkland portions of the province. In general, habitat conditions were fair at best in the south. Nevertheless, duck numbers appeared to be good where we found water. As we moved north, moisture levels improved. Overall, both pond and duck numbers are down slightly over last year’s ground count. In general, habitat conditions are fair to good throughout most of the province and duck numbers are reasonably high. Much of the province is currently suffering from a lack of soil moisture and conditions are getting quite dry. Some decent spring precipitation will be required in the coming weeks if those seasonal wetlands are to continue to provide suitable waterfowl habitat throughout the breeding season.

Alberta ground crew; over and out!

The 2015 Alberta ground crew: (Left to right) Mike Watmough (CWS), Karl Zimmer (CWS), Daniel Knop (CWS), Garnet Raven (CWS), Moriah Tanguay (CWS), Murray Gillespie (DUC). Absent: Jason Caswell (ABESRD) and Nathan Clements (CWF). Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

The 2015 Alberta ground crew: (Left to right) Mike Watmough (CWS), Karl Zimmer (CWS), Daniel Knop (CWS), Garnet Raven (CWS), Moriah Tanguay (CWS), Murray Gillespie (DUC). Absent: Jason Caswell (ABESRD) and Nathan Clements (CWF). Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

Canada geese flying over a wetland in the eastern Alberta parklands (Murray Gillespie).

Canada geese flying over a wetland in the eastern Alberta parklands (Murray Gillespie).

A full semi-permanent wetland along the Sedgewick transect (Garnet Raven).

A full semi-permanent wetland along the Sedgewick transect (Garnet Raven).

American Avocets on an alkali wetland along the Sedgewick transect in the eastern Alberta parklands (Murray Gillespie).

American Avocets on an alkali wetland along the Sedgewick transect in the eastern Alberta parklands (Murray Gillespie).

A group of Canvasbacks spotted on the Sedgewick transect (Murray Gillespie).

A group of Canvasbacks spotted on the Sedgewick transect (Murray Gillespie).

A herd of bison in the distance along the Bear Creek transect in the eastern Alberta parklands (Garnet Raven).

A herd of bison in the distance along the Bear Creek transect in the eastern Alberta parklands (Garnet Raven).