Ground Crew up to Grande Prairie: ducks and water down this year

Written by Garnet Raven
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Garnet RavenThe Alberta ground crew finished with the area north and east of Edmonton and made the long trek up to Grande Prairie today.  Unfortunately, we found that moisture conditions didn’t improve significantly as we moved north into the boreal transition zone.  Our counts in this area show both duck and pond numbers are down compared to last year. We found most temporary and seasonal wetlands were dry, but many semi-permanent and permanent wetlands still held adequate water.  The first mallard brood of our survey was observed on the Moose Lake air-ground segment southwest of Bonnyville, AB, on May 24th. On the bright side, we ran into some wet weather over the last few days. Our pilot, Jim Bredy (USFWS), was not able to fly May 20-23rd due to the weather, which included rain, snow and high winds. The weather system actually brought accumulations of snow around Grande Prairie as well as significant amounts of rain. Although it’s late arriving, the moisture will help habitat conditions in the Peace Region.  During our trip to Grande Prairie we observed some ephemeral water lying in fields that is likely a result of the recent rain and snow. But overall, wetland conditions look quite dry. Over the next few days we hope to survey our last air-grounds up here in the Peace parklands and complete the Alberta ground survey for 2010.

A dry seasonal wetland on the Moose Lake air-ground southwest of Bonnyville, AB on May 24th. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

A dry seasonal wetland on the Moose Lake air-ground southwest of Bonnyville, AB on May 24th. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS.

A permanent wetland on the Jessie Lake air-ground south of Bonnyville, AB on May 24th. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS

A permanent wetland on the Jessie Lake air-ground south of Bonnyville, AB on May 24th. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS.

A permanent wetland with 2 pair of Redhead on the Cucumber air-ground north of Vegreville, AB on May 21st. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS.

A permanent wetland with 2 pair of Redhead on the Cucumber air-ground north of Vegreville, AB on May 21st. Credit: Garnet Raven, CWS.

A full semi-permanent wetland last year that would have held water well into July.  Quite a difference this year. Taken on the Clandonald air-ground, north of Wainwright, AB on May 20th. Credit: Jim Leafloor, CWS.

A full semi-permanent wetland last year that would have held water well into July. Quite a difference this year. Taken on the Clandonald air-ground, north of Wainwright, AB on May 20th. Credit: Jim Leafloor, CWS.