Southern and Central Alberta Complete

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Written by Jim Bredy
Monday, May 25, 2015

Photo of Jim Bredy.On May 25, Joe Sands and I completed the Southern and Central Alberta May Waterfowl Surveys. Overall, it was a mixed bag. I echo the same sentiments as provided by the Canadian Wildlife Service Ground Crew Leader, Garnet Raven. Most of far southern Alberta was dry. Conditions faded from the fair-good conditions southwest of Lethbridge, to fair and poor the further east we flew towards Medicine Hat. Many of the small, semi-permanent wetland basins (prairie pot-hole country, or short-grass prairie region) were dry, with greatly reduced water levels in the larger permanent wetlands. Conditions slowly improved to good conditions in much of the area between Red Deer, Provost, Lloydminster and Cold Lake. However, with these good conditions, the water levels were lower than last year. As we moved towards Slave Lake and the “Peace River” country, the wetland conditions deteriorated. Much of this area had significantly lower wetland conditions. The water appeared to be stagnant in a lot of the wetlands that were left in the Boreal Forest portion of this area. There were some good conditions in the far NW portion of Central Alberta’s stratum 76, between Grande Prairie, and Ft. St. John, British Columbia.

Due to the good hatch last year, there were a good number of birds that returned to Southern Alberta. The hatching success will depend in a large part on enough continued moisture to keep the smaller semi-permanent wetland basins full.

Alberta continues to be one of my favorite places. It is great waterfowl country with fantastic people, and incredible scenery. I only have a few years left before I retire; however, I am really looking forward to next year already. Until next year, I wish you many happy days afield!