Northern Alberta, Northeastern British Columbia and Northwest Territories

Voyages of the Sourdough

Northern Alberta, Northeastern British Columbia and Northwest Territories
Written by Steve Olson
Friday, June 17, 2016

Steve OlsonFred and I returned to Inuvik, Northwest Territories, from Fairbanks, Alaska, on June 4, where we had been down a handful of days for plane maintenance. It was time to survey the true tundra, the mighty Mackenzie River Delta, and the Arctic Coast of NWT.

The State of the North, Waterfowl- and Habitat-Wise

Northern Alberta, Northeastern British Columbia and Northwest Territories
Written by Steve Olson
Monday, June 06, 2016

Steve OlsonCurrent conditions along the Arctic Ocean coast in the Northwest Territories are not favorable (snow/light rain mix and high winds) for flying low-level surveys today. So, I will catch our duck hunters and managers up on our journey and habitat conditions since traveling north of the Fort Mac fires.

North News. Wildfire Edition.

Northern Alberta, Northeastern British Columbia and Northwest Territories
Written by Steve Olson
Thursday, May 19, 2016

Steve OlsonI often describe the north as its own country, within a country. This applies to both the Alaska North and Canadian North, as similarities between each other outweigh differences. May brings Pilot Biologist Fred Roetker and me to the Canadian North to assist in the Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey. Given that we start our trek to the North via the south, we pass over areas intensively surveyed by southern air and ground crews, and we defer to them to provide you with updates.

Perfect

Northern Alberta, Northeastern British Columbia and Northwest Territories
Written by Steve Olson
Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Steve OlsonVery few times can one truly admit to perfection. Most of us have a loose definition of the word, don’t believe in its possibility, or are so overwhelmed in emotion that it momentarily seems like the right word.

Chasing Shadows

Northern Alberta, Northeastern British Columbia and Northwest Territories
Written by Steve Olson
Thursday, May 28, 2015

Steve OlsonI sit state-side in Fairbanks, AK, as we regroup, pound out some data transcribing, and await the completion of an annual maintenance check of our Quest Kodiak. We have flown 10 days of surveys and completed just over 60% of our segments. A few days of rest, sourdough pancakes, and catching up with old pals and sleep is more than welcoming.

Journey Through Video

Northern Alberta, Northeastern British Columbia and Northwest Territories
Written by Steve Olson
Friday, June 13, 2014

Steve OlsonTake a virtual tour of where many species of waterfowl and waterbirds nest and where others from the prairies nest when the prairies dry up. You’ll see firsthand the wetland conditions, our flying conditions, and some very unique landscapes and animals. Enjoy.

Steve's Otter Song

Northern Alberta, Northeastern British Columbia and Northwest Territories
Written by Steve Olson
Friday, June 13, 2014

Steve OlsonFred and I have traveled over 5,700 miles (in 318 segments) at bird-view (150 ft.) and I now sit in a wood recliner, belly full of Arctic Char, and four feet from the waters of Great Slave Lake in Yellowknife’s Old Town. Transcribing data while flocks of ring-necks, bluebills, and wigeon whistle by, maple-leafing overhead is actually a treat after seeing them from above for the last three weeks. Instead of raising my voice clicker, I find myself raising an “air gun” (the equivalent of air-guitar) and swinging through the motions. This metaphor is analogous to the whole reason I’m even lucky enough to be here. The data we have collected the last three weeks will be used to help guide duck hunting regulations this year, as they have for the last 50 years.

The Northwest Territories' Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Northern Alberta, Northeastern British Columbia and Northwest Territories
Written by Steve Olson
Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Steve OlsonColorful are the northern characters Fred and I meet for food, jet fuel, and lodging. As you can imagine, hotels don’t grow on black spruce, they grow above oil. We stay (sleep) at many B&B’s, fishing and hunting lodges, cabins, etc., throughout the north.

Knocking Off Deltas

Northern Alberta, Northeastern British Columbia and Northwest Territories
Written by Steve Olson
Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Steve OlsonTwo years ago, I worked the ground crew in Eastern Dakotas with my Central Flyway counterpart, Kammie Kruse. This was a great opportunity to appreciate the skills needed to identify birds flushing quickly and to better understand the procedure of this survey. I adjusted rather quickly then, given my hunting and waterfowl background, and considered myself a prairie pro by time we wrapped up. I had a great time in the Dakotas that year, mostly because our crew meshed instantly, and because I was able to return to the prairies for breeding season for the first time since working for Ducks Unlimited on my first “duck job.” It was that spring and summer seven years ago that I finally realized the direction I wanted to go as a student and a professional, and began my whirlwind tour of waterfowl biology and deltas.

Survey of Northwest Territories Finished

Northern Alberta, Northeastern British Columbia and Northwest Territories
Written by Fred Roetker
Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Photo of Fred Roetker.Mark Koneff and I finished the Northwest Territories today. After one the latest springs in years, ice break-up happened fast and birds seemed to immediately occupy the smaller wetlands as they became ice free. The larger lakes were slower to thaw as usual, however birds were taking advantage of shoreline habitat during our survey. After waiting for the ice to leave, the weather mostly cooperated during our effort. Most of the survey was flown under ideal conditions with light winds. Duck numbers appeared strong.

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