Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec

Stratum 50 is a Little Drier

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Brad Pendley
Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Photo of Brad Pendley.As we finish up the fifth of five transects in Stratum 50 it is noticeably drier than last year. While many of the beaver ponds are still there, they are only about half full. This is in marked contrast to last year, when the ponds were not only full to the edge, but often flooded into the tree line. With that said, there is still plenty of water, and we are seeing ducks.

Back in the Saddle Again...

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Brad Pendley
Sunday, May 10, 2015

Photo of Brad Pendley.After a much smoother beginning to the 2015 survey season, my pilot-biologist Jim Wortham and I have started making our way from Maryland to Stratum 50. Last year’s start was hampered by plane issues before leaving the states and a weather delay before we could start the first transect. This year we flew straight up and got started right away on Stratum 50.

Off and Running

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Jim Wortham
Friday, May 08, 2015

Photo of Jim Wortham.May is here and the scaup, buffleheads, and redheads that have been hanging around our place in Florida all winter have been conspicuously absent for a few weeks now. After some last-minute aircraft maintenance, I have been packing up gear for the survey up north. Crucial tasks are getting the camp gear together and replacing items in the survival kit like signal flares and water purification tablets, but harder jobs are packing my personal bag for snow and ice when it is in the high 80s outside!

Ditching, Ditching, Ditching

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Brad Pendley
Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Photo of Brad Pendley.There is more to the May Survey than just counting waterfowl. The logistics of seeing a survey this big through is a daunting task. With teams of pilot-biologist and observers spreading out from Alaska to the Maritimes, it takes a lot of work just getting everyone ready. One of the most important tasks is making sure everyone is safe and trained.

Finishing Up

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Brad Pendley
Sunday, June 08, 2014

Photo of Brad Pendley.After a lengthy weather delay in Wabush/Labrador City, we made a break for it. With the rest of stratum 69 and two lines to do in stratum 70, the weather on Sunday gave us the window we needed. Stratum 69 is in eastern Quebec, with the final transects to be completed on the Labrador border.

Northern Quebec

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Jim Wortham
Saturday, June 07, 2014

Photo of Jim Wortham.We have completed western Ontario and moved into northern Quebec. Conditions here are drier than Ontario, and slightly dry for this area. It has been two years since I have seen this area and it appears many fires have moved through the area since my last visit. One of these fires was still active in the southern portion of our crew area, but the smoke wasn’t yet thick enough to prevent us from safely flying the transects.

On to Quebec...

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Brad Pendley
Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Photo of Brad Pendley.After a long stretch of good flying weather, Mother Nature finally caught up with us in northern Quebec. Having finished up Stratum 50 with its abundance of water and relatively rolling terrain, we have crossed over into Stratum 69 and Quebec. To say it is different would be an understatement. The first thing you notice is everything is in French. The folks greet us with smiles as I fumble with what few words I know while trying to order food. They patiently wait for me to finish and then somehow we work it out. Jim Wortham has been at this for a while longer and does a little better than I do. We manage to eat and rest before the next morning flight.

Observations from a Midwest Observer

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Brad Pendley
Sunday, June 01, 2014

Photo of Brad Pendley.I have spent the last 5 years feeding ducks as they make their way south each winter and more importantly on their way back north each spring. A common saying at our refuge is “it is good to feed them on the way down, but critical that we feed those hens on the way back up.” That statement has hit home for me as I have spent the last week making my way up to Ontario and Stratum 50. Stratum 50 covers most of Western Ontario and is pretty heavily forested with more lakes than I could ever hope to count. This year the water is high and many of the bigger lakes are just breaking up after a long, cold winter. There are pockets of water everywhere and it seems like there is more wet than dry.

2014 Survey Begins in Western Ontario

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Jim Wortham
Sunday, June 01, 2014

Photo of Jim Wortham.A few aircraft delays kept us from launching the survey as planned from Maryland. Now that we are piloting flying computers, we have to ensure that the software is in order. Our delays resulted in benefits, as it resulted in our timing being perfect when reaching western Ontario. The ice had recently vanished on all of the lakes in the southern portions of the Stratum and remained only on the larger lakes in the North. It seems that we have hit that sweet spot in which the ice has broken up but the deciduous leaves have yet to unfurl. This allows for breeding birds to settle across the landscape, but still be seen from the air—particularly in some of the narrower creeks. This is the first year for our biological observer, Brad Pendley, to see this country, but he hasn’t had much time to soak it in as a streak of good flying weather has kept us moving. Western Ontario was not surveyed last year, and it is reassuring to see how well the habitat is doing. Excellent water conditions prevail in the southern areas, and the beavers are living up to their role in creating and maintaining many ponds and wetlands to serve as garden plots for growing ducks.

Batting .400

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Stephen Earsom
Friday, June 07, 2013

Photo of Stephen D. Earsom.As the story goes, Ted Williams had been out duck hunting on December 7th, 1941, the day of the Pearl Harbor attack. Williams had just finished a baseball season for the record books. His batting average going into the final day of the season was .39955, which was high enough to be rounded up to .400. He could sit out the final double-header, protect this amazing hitting feat, and be assured of All-Star if not Hall of Fame status.

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