Southern and Central Alberta

A Snapshot of the Canadian Prairies

Southern and Central Alberta
Written by Jim Bredy
Saturday, May 31, 2014

Photo of Jim Bredy.On May 31, I departed Calgary, Alberta, in the morning, and flew to Winnipeg, Manitoba, to commence another survey. The following photos are a snapshot of the conditions I saw along that route. This is not a total summary of prairie wetland conditions. For more detailed information on habitat conditions in a particular crew area, please refer to the individual crew leaders’ reports. There is still LOTS of water out there!

Can't Always Fly a Straight Line

Southern and Central Alberta
Written by Jim Bredy
Saturday, May 31, 2014

Photo of Jim Bredy.The following two photos demonstrate why we do not always fly a straight line, when trying to get from point A to point B. On May 31, I was enroute from Calgary, Alberta, to Winnipeg, Manitoba. The magenta line in the first photo shows my intended flight path. The green line with the plane in the picture shows my actual flight path. The second photo is an outside-the-plane shot of the thunderstorm. Although the thunderstorm and rain caused a slight deviation in my intended flight path, it is a good thing. The driest portion of the recently completed Southern Alberta Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey was in southeast Alberta, exactly where the storm is depicted. This rain will help sustain water levels in wetlands that already have water in them, and will help to re-charge the dry ones. I am hopeful for more rain this spring and summer, but also am hopeful the storms do not cause the devastation that spring/summer thunderstorms have been known to cause.

Take Home Messages

Southern and Central Alberta
Written by Joe Sands
Sunday, May 25, 2014

Photo of Joe Sands.It is May 25th and the survey is over. One last night in a hotel for me and then Jim Bredy and I part ways. He will head for eastern Canada to start a Canada goose survey. I have a flight to Portland and a reunion with Jessica, Morgan, Jackson, and three dogs. I’ll be on a plane without a flight suit, headset, and data voice recorder for the first time since May 2. Tuesday is back to the office in Region 1 and back to work for the waterfowl and migratory gamebird resources of the Pacific Region.

Heaven on Earth

Southern and Central Alberta
Written by Jim Bredy
Sunday, May 25, 2014

Photo of Jim Bredy.Joe Sands and I completed the Southern and Central Alberta BPOP survey area yesterday. I feel blessed to have been able to work with this very capable waterfowl man. His excellent work ethic and good humor made some of the long work days seem a bit shorter. I hope everyone out there has the opportunity to work with associates such as Joe, who bring his type of infectious energy and enthusiasm to the job.

The Weather Caught Up To Us

Southern and Central Alberta
Written by Garnet Raven
Friday, May 16, 2014

Photo of Garnet Raven.The Alberta ground survey crew has been able to complete stratum 29, 28, and 27 in southern Alberta and have started on stratum 26. Weather has cooperated up until now, allowing our pilot Jim Bredy and observer Joe Sands to stay ahead of us. That changed today and some low clouds, wind and rain has prevented them from flying any air-ground transects this morning. I guess it was bound to happen. Spring weather in Alberta is never predictable and we really can’t complain.

Holy Hanna!

Southern and Central Alberta
Written by Garnet Raven
Monday, May 12, 2014

Photo of Garnet Raven.The Alberta ground survey crew has been able to complete strata 29 and 28 in southern AB and is currently working on stratum 27 out of Hanna. Weather has cooperated, allowing our pilot Jim Bredy and observer Joe Sands to survey each day since they started on May 8th.

Tongue-tied

Southern and Central Alberta
Written by Jim Bredy
Sunday, May 11, 2014

Photo of Jim Bredy.After some unexpected winter-type weather delayed our survey start, Joe Sands and I finally got under way on May 08. We were greeted with variable habitat conditions in the short-grass prairie area to the south and east of Lethbridge, Alberta, over to the Saskatchewan border. Although there are some very good pond numbers, and upland habitat conditions, there are also some conditions that are fair to poor. These conditions mesh with the precipitation maps for the fall and winter period, where this area in the south did not have as good precipitation as the areas further to the north and west. In the good areas, we sometimes get a bit “tongue-tied” as we try to count the ducks (listen to the attached wav file of one of our areas on the Milk River Ridge area, due south of Lethbridge, Alberta, and near the Montana border. The portion between between 2:06 and 2:24 is where we really “got into” them!) We will report more as we work our way further north. Currently, we are in the Calgary, Alberta, area, and hope to be in Edmonton by the end of this week; and the Grande Prairie, Alberta, area by the middle of next week. We hope you are enjoying your spring, just as we are up here counting ducks and geese!

Alberta Ground Crew Prepares for the Survey

Southern and Central Alberta
Written by Garnet Raven
Thursday, May 08, 2014

Photo of Garnet Raven.The Alberta ground crew for the waterfowl breeding population and habitat survey gathered today (Thursday, May 8th) in Medicine Hat, Alberta. During the drive down from Edmonton we witnessed some good wetland conditions through the parklands. Conditions appeared to improve further south, in the prairies. Alberta received good snowpack over the winter and it appears that much of the melt has accumulated and renewed many of the wetlands. Our pilot, Jim Bredy, was able to survey the two southernmost transects today so our ground crew will be busy surveying the Pakowki and Manyberries air-ground transects tomorrow.

Southern Alberta Survey Start Delayed Due to Weather

Southern and Central Alberta
Written by Jim Bredy
Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Photo of Jim Bredy.This video is the view outside my hotel room this morning in Lethbridge, Alberta. While some portions of the US are basking in 80 and 90 degree temperatures, it is windy here and the snow is blowing sideways. This type of weather is not conducive to safely flying a low-level waterfowl survey. Temperatures that last week were in the 20° C range (68° F), have given way to sub-freezing temperatures, snow, and freezing fog. This has put the survey on hold, for now.

Time Flies By, and So Do We!

Southern and Central Alberta
Written by Jim Bredy
Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Photo of Jim Bredy.WOW, Time Flies By, And So Do We! You Blink And You Will Be 60!

As I sit here in my home in the mountains near Albuquerque, NM waiting to depart, it is hard to believe that I have been flying surveys in Canada for portions of four decades. I started out in 1988 as a skinny “brown hair” and am now a little bit heavier “grey hair”. Some of my friends and flying associates are no longer here, such as Ray Bentley, Thom Lewis, and Bob Heath. I feel fortunate and blessed to have been able to participate for this prolonged period of time with so many fine people. The Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey (BPOP for short) is the largest coordinated wildlife survey of any kind in the world.

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