By Sarah Yates, USFWS biologist
, Southern Manitoba & Southeast Saskatchewan
It’s that time of year again and I’ve been preparing for quite a while. It will be a little easier this year since it’s my second survey in the left seat and I’ll be returning to Brandon, Manitoba, with my extremely experienced observer and retired biologist-pilot John Bidwell. I’ve been relying on Marc Shuster (Canadian Wildlife Service
out of Winnipeg) and Dave Wall (owner-operator of Maple Leaf Aviation in Brandon) for updates regarding weather, ice out, and the arrival and phenology of waterfowl. It looks like we’ll be able to start the survey sometime around May 9-10th if all goes well. They’ve had another long cold winter (like most of the U.S.) and so things are delayed by a week in southern Manitoba.
There is a lot of preparation for these surveys and here is an example of what I’ve been doing the last month or so:
- Making hotel and rental reservations
- Ordering charts to replace those that have expired
- Updating all hazard maps—both hardcopy and digital
- Updating and uploading all my GPS navigation, obstruction, and terrain databases
- Making sure my airplane N728 is ready to go and maintenance needs are taken care of
- Testing all survey equipment
- Making sure I have all required documents for clearing customs
- Making sure I have all required travel documents
- Reviewing Nav Canada rules, regulations and procedures.
Hopefully the weather cooperates and John and I arrive in Manitoba around May 6th!
Learn more about the survey, banding and more at Flyways.us