Re: December Aerial Survey
December 15, 2016 at 6:28pm
We flew 13 lines from the Texas state line over to Rayne, and saw a LOT more mallards than in November, and a pretty good number of mallards for anytime on the coastal transects. However, I don't think we saw any more, and maybe total fewer ducks than in November. The number of birds on the lines through Sabine, Cameron Prairie, and Lacassine, and in the marsh in general, were down from November, but the number of birds in the ag habitat was clearly up. We saw very large numbers of birds in the ag fields north of Lacassine NWR and White Lake WCA. So it appears there has been a net redistribution of birds toward the ag habitat compared to the November survey.
DISCLAIMER: I haven't 1) transcribed my recordings, 2) seen what my co-observer saw on the other side of the plane, or 3) crunched the numbers to generate comparable estimates. I'm just giving you my impression of what I saw in 1 day of flying.
The coastal survey is a 3-day survey, but I couldn't get out of Baton Rouge all day yesterday, and with the short days, I don't think there is any way we can finish the survey in 2 days. We managed 2 extra lines today and will fly hard tomorrow. I will have estimates for SW LA, Catahoula Lake (123,000 almost all cans and ringnecks), NW LA (6 times what we counted in November), NE LA (up 30% from November mostly due to big increases in diving ducks), and the scaup survey on Lakes Pontchartrain, Maurepas, and Borgne (over 200,000 and a record high for Lake Borgne), but it's doubtful we will finish SE LA. We'll do what we can.