2015 Alaska Survey Resumes

Written by Jim Bredy
Sunday, June 07, 2015

Photo of Jim Bredy.The Alaska waterfowl breeding population surveys began in late May. I completed the BPOP surveys in southern and central Alberta on May 25. As I was stepping into the plane to head home, I got the call from my supervisor. Due to some plane maintenance issues, I was asked to head north to assist with the completion of these surveys. I crossed the border at Northway, and overflew the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge near Tok, AK. I flew by Denali, and eventually met up with Brad Shults and Debbie Groves in McGrath. Debbie has been flying these surveys for portions of three decades now. In the few short days that I have been flying with her, I am really impressed with her duck identification skills. Due to her familiarity with past wetland conditions and bird numbers, she will be submitting more detailed reports on habitat.

We have already flown the areas between McGrath, King Salmon, and are now in the process of flying the Yukon-Kuskoskwim Delta. My God, this place is a waterfowl utopia! Boreal forest ponds to the east portions of the YK Delta melt into countless tundra ponds on the coastal plains. From here, we plan on flying by Unalakleet, Nome, Kotzebue, Bettles, Ft. Yukon, into Old Crow in the Yukon, and back to Fairbanks. There are five more survey days of flying left. However, that most likely will take longer, due to the typical unsettled weather with low pressure systems spilling into the area from the Bering Sea and Bristol Bay. We will keep you posted with further updates and more photos.

Boreal Forest ponds at Tetlin NWR, near Tok, AK. USFWS photo by Jim Bredy

Boreal Forest ponds at Tetlin NWR, near Tok, AK. USFWS photo by Jim Bredy

Flying by .... DENALI! USFWS photo by Jim Bredy

Flying by .... DENALI! USFWS photo by Jim Bredy

Jim Bredy and Debbie Groves, standing in front of the ever reliable DMBM BMBS Partenavia Observer, at the Bethel, AK airport.   The other BMBS aircrtaft, 728, is in the background. Photo Credit: Jim Bredy, USFWS

Jim Bredy and Debbie Groves, standing in front of the ever reliable DMBM BMBS Partenavia Observer, at the Bethel, AK airport. The other BMBS aircrtaft, 728, is in the background. Photo Credit: Jim Bredy, USFWS

Aerial view of the Yukon-Kuskokwim (YK) Delta coastal-plains  tundra ponds, near Chefornak, AK.  USFWS photo by Jim Bredy

Aerial view of the Yukon-Kuskokwim (YK) Delta coastal-plains tundra ponds, near Chefornak, AK. USFWS photo by Jim Bredy