Rest Day in Order

Written by Walt Rhodes
Saturday, May 15, 2010

Walt RhodesOur aviation regulations require crews to take a rest day after a certain number of flight hours are reached. After 6 straight days of flying a rest day was in order. These are usually welcomed unless it is a beautiful day to survey. It allows me to catch up on administrative duties and do laundry, but also make future logistical arrangements. Unless the weather is bad, we rarely stay in a town more than 3 days, and will stay in nearly a dozen towns and villages before the survey is complete. Because our schedule is weather- and maintenance-dependent, we can’t book hotels too far in advance. A rest day allows time to make upcoming reservations on short notice as well as check on fuel availability, which can get tenuous as we progress farther north.

Sarah and I both did our laundry and transcribed yesterday’s data. We then went out on the ground to look at more waterfowl. It was a gorgeous spring day in the Parklands. Courtship behavior by mallards, green-winged teal, canvasbacks and ring-necked ducks was observed. We also briefly watched a coot build a nest and spotted a Canada goose pair with a very young brood of 6 goslings. A pair of sandhill cranes was spied too in a cut agricultural field. It was not a bad way to spend the day. Like I said, however, rest days can be welcomed but on a day like today it’s tough not to yearn for the sky.

Aviation sectionals used for flight planning in Stratums 22 & 23, noting transect and segment breaks as well as aerial hazards.   (Photo by W. Rhodes, USFWS)

Aviation sectionals used for flight planning in Stratums 22 & 23, noting transect and segment breaks as well as aerial hazards. Photo by W. Rhodes, USFWS

Passing over the excellent waterfowl habitat of the Mississippi River marshes just downstream of LaCrosse, Wisconsin.    (Photo by W. Rhodes, USFWS))

Suggi Lake, located northeast of Prince Albert, SK, was ice free, unlike in 2009 (bottom photo) when it was 80 percent covered by ice. Photos by W. Rhodes, USFWS)