By Sarah Yates,USFWS pilot biologist, Southern Manitoba and Southeastern Saskatchewan
Since our last post, John and I have been extremely busy. We’ve had six days of gorgeous weather and great survey conditions. This means clear, sunny days with little to no wind (the only thing better would have been overcast skies and no wind). This is a pretty rare occurrence here in Manitoba and we took advantage of it. At this point we have finished stratums 34, 35, 38, 39, and 40. We have two long days of flying left to finish our most northern lines in stratums 37 and 36. Habitat conditions are still looking great throughout the majority of the crew area. Southeastern Saskatchewan does seem slightly drier than Manitoba and as usual there are some drier segments along the Saskatchewan/Manitoba border. The driest area in Manitoba is stratum 38, which is pretty much devoid of water and seems extremely dry compared to the rest of the survey area. We did see some improvement in the far southern line of stratum 38 (along the U.S. border) compared with last year. There is a lot more sheet water. However, in general, stratum 38 lacks sufficient habitat and most of the water you do see is in man-made dugouts. I would say overall habitat conditions are good to excellent in 2014. Unlike last year, we are running into some ice along our northern segments in stratum 40 and it will be interesting to see what conditions look like in our far–northern transects over the next couple of days.
We saw a few iced over ponds in Stratum 40. Photo by Sarah Yates, USFWS
Flying over the Assinboine River in Stratum 40. Photo by Sarah Yates, USFWS
Get more information about the 2014 BPOP Survey and other waterfowl surveys at Flyways.us
Find more breeding waterfowl and habitat updates on the DU Habitat Map