Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec

Late and Slow - But Pushing On

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Jim Wortham
Monday, June 03, 2013

Photo of Jim Wortham.Steve Earsom and I continue to sit through one weather system after another in eastern Canada. We have been surveying southern Ontario and southern Quebec.

How Do You Like Your Steak?

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Stephen Earsom
Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Photo of Stephen D. Earsom.As the saying goes, what a difference a year makes! Last year my observer and I finished our surveys in southern Ontario and Quebec on 19 May. This year, due to some aircraft issues, we didn’t even start until 19 May. Unfortunately, that meant we arrived too late to collect data in some of southern areas of Ontario. In Strata 52, 53, and 54, the trees have unfurled their leaves, making it impossible to see into many of the smaller streams and wetlands where we often “pull out” singles and pairs. Unlike in some parts of Canada, the spring did not come late to southern Ontario, and we’ve been seeing a lot more kayaks and BBQ grills than ducks in those areas.

Western Ontario and Eastern Quebec Completed

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Jim Wortham
Friday, June 08, 2012

Jim Wortham.This year I have the most patient observer in the survey. Between waiting for me to attend a funeral , filling in on some harbor seal surveys, and waiting for our aircraft to undergo a mid-survey mechanical inspection, Scott Boomer has been very gracious in remaining focused and dedicated to the survey while being away from his family.

The Cost of "Green" Energy

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Jim Wortham
Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Jim Wortham.We are now in northern Quebec, our Stratum 69 which encompasses those areas north of the boreal and sandwiched in between Labrador to the east and the Hudson and James Bays to the west. This area is scarred by glaciers, leaving a broad rocky landscape characterized by thousands of small lakes and string bogs. This is caribou country and the herds traverse this landscape annually leaving many well-worn trails in the lichens. Here we expect to find “black and white” ducks including scoters, oldsquaw, goldeneyes, and mergansers, but this area is rich in black duck habitat as well.

Survey Begins in Western Ontario/Northern Quebec

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Jim Wortham
Friday, May 18, 2012

Jim Wortham.Our crew consists of Jim Wortham, Chief of the Migratory Bird Surveys Branch and Dr. Scott Boomer of the Population and Habitat Assessment Branch. We have been flying surveys in Ontario and Quebec for the past eight years and have seen many changes in yearly habitat conditions and bird response to these areas.

Wrapping Up the Survey!!

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Jim Wortham
Friday, June 10, 2011

Jim Wortham.We have finished our survey! We completed Stratum 69 on Thursday, June 9, with the Northwest Territories crew not far behind. Data now has to be compiled and transferred to our Population and Habitat Assessment biometricians in Laurel, Maryland, and Sacramento, California, to be combined with data captured by our Canadian Wildlife Service colleagues. Following this, waterfowl population estimates will be developed for use in not only the establishment of hunting seasons and bag limits, but also to be incorporated into computer models designed to provide guidance in management decisions for habitat policy development.

Helicopter “Ground Crew” Survey of Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Samantha Gibbs
Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Photo of Samantha Gibbs.We are currently based out of Mirage Outfitter’s Camp on the James Bay region’s Transtaiga road, 975 miles north of Quebec City. This area lies within the Canadian Shield, the topography of which was shaped by glaciers. These glaciers deposited boulders, gravel and sand across the landscape. Peat bogs and rocky plateaus covered in lichens and dotted by stands of scrubby black spruce dominate this Taiga Shield Zone of Quebec. An intricate hydrological network of over a million lakes, peat bogs, rivers and streams also resulted from glacial action. These waterways now provide important habitat for migratory waterfowl during the breeding season.

The Last Crew to Get Started in 2011!

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Jim Wortham
Saturday, May 28, 2011

Jim Wortham.The amphibious Kodiak survey airplanes are debuting on the May survey this year. This welcome transition comes with several logistical issues, not the least of which is completion of an intense curriculum of training to position our Pilot/Biologists to make the most of these new aircraft and to fly more safely than we have been able to before.

Helicopter Done for the Year

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Paul Padding
Thursday, May 27, 2010

Paul Padding.The weather cleared enough yesterday to let Jim Wortham and Scott Boomer fly their last remaining survey line in northern Quebec, and our helicopter crew was able to fly one last 18-mile segment of that line after Jim and Scott were done. Many of the larger lakes in the eastern part of this survey area are still mostly ice-covered, but the smaller wetlands and smaller, shallower lakes are open. It looked like most of the dabbling ducks (black ducks and green-winged teal) and Canada geese we saw have already set up shop for nesting, whereas many of the diving ducks (mainly scaup and scoters) were paired and ready to go, but waiting for more water to open up. We saw several groups of those species, and those birds will likely break up and spread out as more lakes thaw out. Jim and Scott have a few more survey lines to do in eastern Quebec, but the helicopter crew is done for this year and we are on our way home today.

Helicopter serves as ground crew

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Paul Padding
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Paul Padding.If you’ve been following the progress of the prairie survey crews, you know that the pilot biologists and their observers are working with ground crews that conduct thorough searches of some segments of the lines the air crews fly. This allows us to create a Visibility Correction Factor—to improve overall survey estimates. But since roads are literally few and far between in northern Quebec, a ground crew would have no access to the survey transects the pilot biologist flies. So, we take a different approach to “ground truthing” here. After the fixed-wing air crew (Jim Wortham and Scott Boomer) flies a 180-mile survey line, we use a helicopter to conduct the thorough follow-up search of an 18-mile segment of that line.

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