Alaska, Yukon Territory and Old Crow Flats

Conditions are good in Alaska and Yukon

Alaska, Yukon Territory and Old Crow Flats
Written by Ed Mallek
Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Photo of Ed Mallek.The weather is cooperating so far, and we are getting some good days of surveying under our belts. We flew north out of Cordova to Fairbanks, and while we were up there we surveyed an extra day for the Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge. They wanted to do an expanded breeding pair survey on the refuge. Just to give a sense of scale, the Kanuti refuge is 1.6 million acres – roughly the size of Delaware. We ran our transect lines closer together, to provide more data for their survey. Other than that, we have not seen anything particularly unusual, other than a couple big fires. It is not supposed to be a bad fire year, but we’ve seen a couple big ones so far. Sometimes aerial surveys get scrubbed or delayed because of smoke from big fires, but we don’t anticipate that this time of year. Overall, water conditions and nesting continue to be about what we expect to see.

Survey of Alaska and Yukon Begins

Alaska, Yukon Territory and Old Crow Flats
Written by Ed Mallek
Saturday, May 16, 2009

Photo of Ed Mallek.We started our survey of Alaska and the Yukon Territory today. This is my fourth year on this route, while my observer, Debbie Groves, has been on it for 18 years. We took off out of Cordova, Alaska this morning. The weather conditions were good, and bird distributions were about what we have come to expect.  Conditions on this survey area remain fairly consistent from year to year, unlike some of the other areas, where conditions may swing from total drought one year to flooding the next. We have seen some flooding along some of the rivers, which makes great habitat—not only for waterfowl, but for moose and other wildlife as well. This is the 33rd year that our highly modified Turbine Beaver airplane has been used on the survey. It was built in 1972 and has been used on this survey ever since 1977. It was built specifically to do wildlife surveys. With its Garrett engine, it has increased visibility and larger fuel load than other Beavers. It is a one of a kind aircraft.

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