Alberta Ground Crew Ready to Roll Out

Written by Garnet Raven
Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Photo of Garnet Raven.The Alberta ground crew for the waterfowl breeding population and habitat survey gathered today in Medicine Hat, Alberta. The parklands near Edmonton were on the dry side as we departed. Our southern contacts were saying things were much worse on the prairies. During our travels, we were pleased to see the eastern parklands looked decent. Although most ephemeral and seasonal wetlands were dry, the semi-permanent wetlands seemed to be holding good water and were full of ducks. However, conditions deteriorated as we made our way south and things looked very dry as we approached Medicine Hat. There was very little precipitation in southern Alberta last fall, through the winter, and this spring. Medicine Hat actually received up to 20cm of snow last weekend but unfortunately it has disappeared and has been completely soaked up by the thirsty soil. Unprecedented high temperatures have greeted us as we arrived in stratum 29 and they are forecast to continue for the next few days. That will not help the wetland conditions as spring progresses. Our pilot, Jim Bredy, was able to survey the two southernmost transects today so our ground crew will be busy surveying the Pakowki and Manyberries air-ground transects tomorrow.

Our ground crew will survey selected segments of each stratum surveyed by the Alberta air crew of Jim Bredy and his observer, Joe Sands. Our primary objective is to get a complete count of all waterfowl and wetlands present on the air-ground comparison segments. These counts will provide correction factors for visibility biases of the aerial counts. Visibility biases are known to exist for all aerial observers. These biases change between years as a result of varying conditions. We have 24 air-ground comparison segments to complete in Alberta this year. We begin in the southern portion of the province and work our way north, all the way up to the Edmonton area in central Alberta.

A recently dry (but moist) seasonal wetland on the Manyberries transect. Photo Credit: Garnet Raven..

A recently dry (but moist) seasonal wetland on the Manyberries transect. Photo Credit: Garnet Raven.

A stock pond with water and a variety of ducks on the Manyberries transect. Photo Credit: Garnet Raven.

A stock pond with water and a variety of ducks on the Manyberries transect. Photo Credit: Garnet Raven.

A young buck antelope spotted on the Pakowki transect. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Beck.).

A young buck antelope spotted on the Pakowki transect. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Beck.

A curious badger along the Pakowki transect. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Beck.

A curious badger along the Pakowki transect. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Beck.