Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec

Northern Quebec: Bring in the chopper!

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Jim Wortham
Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jim Wortham.We have now made the transition over to northern Quebec, and have met up with our Helicopter Crew consisting of USFWS Atlantic Flyway Representative, Paul Padding, Dr. Samantha Gibbs, USFWS national Avian Disease Coordinator, and Doug Holtby, Senior Pilot with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Because of the secretive nature of black ducks and their low tolerance for disturbance, and because these areas are not ground accessible to vehicles or persons on foot, the helicopter is used to act as a ground crew would in the prairie regions to develop visibility correction factors or VCF’s specific to these waterfowl species occupying these specific northern habitat types.

Ontario habitat drier than recent years, but mostly ice-free

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Jim Wortham
Monday, May 17, 2010

Jim Wortham.We have completed our surveys of western Ontario, Stratum 50. We were pleased with the timing of the surveys as the deciduous trees had not yet leafed out and most birds were observed as pairs or lone drakes. In this area, we survey long lines or transects that begin on the southern end of our area within a relatively populated area and traverse long stretches of country northward to areas populated only by a few outfitter camps or native communities. Because of the distances involved, flying these lines are a bit like going backwards in time in that what appears as springtime on the southern end can more resemble winter when turning the corner on the northern extents. This year some ice persisted on some of the larger lakes in northern Ontario; however, all other habitats were ice-free.

Western Ontario survey begins

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Jim Wortham
Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Jim Wortham.My observer Scott Boomer and I departed Maryland en route to Canada on May 9th in a Soloy-converted Cessna 206 amphibian. We began survey flights online the very next day. It was immediately clear that spring came early in western Ontario and all marshes and waterbodies were ice free. The weather has been uncharacteristically cooperative so far and progress has been swift through this stratum.

Eastern Quebec and Anticosti Island completed

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Jim Wortham
Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Photo of Jim Wortham.We have completed surveying the eastern Quebec and Anticosti Island areas in two days.

Anticosti Island is a sparsely inhabited island lying in the middle of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The island rises from sea level to just over 1000’ in elevation. Habitats consist of boreal forest creeks and beaver marshes, with the occasional low lying bog. The remainder of this stratum consists of what is called the “North Shore” of the St. Lawrence and is characterized by high rugged terrain rising to elevations of 3000’ and the associated rapidly moving waters that funnel snow melt water down to sea level. Habitats here also include some permanent lakes and perched shallow basins.

Engine Dies, Delays Start in Western Ontario

Western Ontario and Northcentral Quebec
Written by Jim Wortham
Monday, May 25, 2009

Photo of Jim Wortham.My observer Scott Boomer and I got off to a late survey start in 2009 due both to the delayed spring conditions, but also to an aircraft engine being pronounced dead after only 1.7 hours of use. An alternate aircraft was arranged, and we entered Canada on 16 May to find that spring conditions had caught up and birds were paired and distributed across the landscape. We surveyed the area between the 18th and 24th of May with only a few days lost to snow storms. Larger, deeper lakes in the northern areas were still frozen shore to shore, but virtually all other water bodies were open. Nightly freezes resulted in some skim ice on the smaller wetlands through the morning hours.

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