Moving On Up

Written by Garnet Raven
Friday, May 06, 2016

Photo of Garnet Raven.The Alberta ground survey crew has been able to complete stratum 29 and should finish 28 tomorrow. Some of our crew moved on to Hanna today and we plan on surveying stratum 27 from here before moving north to survey stratum 26. Weather has cooperated, allowing us to survey each day since starting on May 4th. Our pilot Jim Bredy and observer Joe Sands missed one day to weather but have been able to stay ahead of us and keep us busy.

Southern Alberta has received very little moisture over the last few months. The results were obvious in stratum 29, where pond numbers were very low and duck numbers were predictably low as well. Few seasonal wetlands were holding water. More permanent wetlands typically had good numbers of ducks due to it often being the only available water in the area.

On the bright side, things appear to be improving as we move north. More wetlands holding water were visible as we approached Hanna. There is reason for optimism over the next few days as we survey the northern prairies and move into the parklands.

The parklands have been relatively wet over the last few years and during our drive south they appeared decent again this year. Hopefully some of those ducks displaced by the dry conditions down south will show up in stratum 26.

Three drake wigeon spotted on the Farrow transect. Notice anything different about that one on the left? Photo Credit: Elizabeth Beck

Three drake wigeon spotted on the Farrow transect. Notice anything different about that one on the left? Photo Credit: Elizabeth Beck.

A drawn down permanent wetland on the Farrow transect south of Calgary. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Beck.

A drawn down permanent wetland on the Farrow transect south of Calgary. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Beck.

A dry alkali wetland on the Claresholm transect. Photo Credit: Garnet Raven.

A dry alkali wetland on the Claresholm transect. Photo Credit: Garnet Raven.

An American Avocet wading along a drawn down wetland margin on the Farrow transect south of Calgary. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Beck.

An American Avocet wading along a drawn down wetland margin on the Farrow transect south of Calgary. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Beck.