By Blake Bartzen
, Canadian Wildlife Service
, Saskatchewan Ground Crew
The last half of the survey went just about as smoothly as the first half, with only two separate days of weather that would not let the air crew fly. Overall, duck numbers and water conditions seemed good. Some areas in the very east and west of the province were drier than they have been in recent years, but much of the central grassland area of the province, stretching from south of Moose Jaw up to Saskatoon, was extremely wet. Some lifelong farmers working in the area claimed water conditions were the wettest they had seen their entire lives, and this was corroborated by the habitat information we have collected for more recent years. Although not as late as last year, spring was late in arriving this year, but as the survey progressed we encountered fewer pairs and more lone and flocked drake mallards, indicating the breeding season was progressing and our survey timing was reasonably good. Our last day of surveys took place in the northeastern parkland on May 24th, and then we spent the next week proofing and finalizing data, servicing and cleaning equipment, and storing everything away for another year. We completed the job, had some fun while doing it and made it home safe and sound, which I think is a sign of a successful survey.
An unusually large mixed group of ducks lifts off from a seasonal pond in south central Saskatchewan; American coot, American wigeon, American green-winged teal, blue-winged teal, gadwall, northern pintail, northern shoveler. Photo by Blake Bartzen, Canadian Wildlife Service
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