klamath aerial survey

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klamath aerial survey

Postby norcaldh » Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:05 pm

The latest aerial survey for the klamath basin shows no significant increase in bird numbers since the previous survey completed in the beginning of the month. Does anyone have a feel for how accurate these surveys are?
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby Mallards Only » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:32 pm

Anybody who thinks they can fly a plane at 500-1000 ft and can not only count ducks but actually indentify them is on crack. The surveys are very inacurrate despite what they want you to believe. After all, someone's job is depending on it. Think about it. How close do you have to be before you can tell a hen gadwall from a hen mallard on the water. It's a joke.
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby davkrat » Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:31 pm

They get basic numbers from the aircraft and hen do ground truthing to adjust their numbers. When you do something day in day out you can get very good at it. Maybe they are not 100% correct but I guarantee you they can tell wether there have been significant changes in duck numbers. Have you ever been involved in any form of survey? What seems impossible at first can become routine with time.
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby Mallards Only » Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:08 pm

There is no doubt that they can get generalized census numbers in an aerial flyover but as for species-specific data, I say "No Way!" Certain species will use different ponds/fields more heavily than others and I've seen ducks and geese literally "disappear" in standing grain. They would have to do a helluva lot of ground truthing to even come close and I know they don't do that.
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby davkrat » Sat Nov 21, 2009 7:48 am

Have you ever looked for ducks from the air? I never have but I know that there are plants that we survey for from the ground that we can readily identify but when people try from the air they "disappear" due to their vertical growth. I would think the same would be true of geese disappearing in a grain field from a horizontal perspective. One thing though is that they still cast shadows, just like looking for trout in rivers. If you look for the fish you won't find it, look for his shadow and you will. Getting back to the original post:

The latest aerial survey for the klamath basin shows no significant increase in bird numbers

So I guess these surveys are still useless and those DFG/USFWS employees must all be on crack, oh except that you say these surveys are okay for generalized census numbers. Stating that there is no significant increase in numbers is exactly what the norcaldh was asking about, and exactly what you say the surveys are capable of producing.
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby Mallards Only » Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:20 am

It's useless arguing with you. You obviously have a dog in this fight. Do you work for USFWS or the air company? I still say BS. I don't think the surveys are accurate or useful at all. I've been to Klamath and seen bird numbers increase and decrease overnight. I've also seen the planes when they fly over for the survey and I've been in small planes at that altitude and can tell you it's damn near impossible to ID birds on the ground at that level, especially with vegetation, chop on the water, and glare obstructing your vision. Birds move out of the area with weather, migration, food, and on a whim(who knows what posesses them to do things sometimes?). Nonetheless, I do not believe one can get an accurate count or identification of species in an aerial flyover at 500-1000 ft at over 200 mph. As for you and any other skeptics out there, next time you're a passenger in a car and driving through a refuge or near one, try to count ducks and species as you're travelling at less than 50 mph. Make sure you're jotting them down in your notebook and keeping track of the ones you already "counted." Also, make sure you're correctly identifying species. Can't be done.
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby Mallards Only » Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:24 am

As for your last statement, norcaldh was asking for an opinion on how accurate the surveys were. That is what I provided. When I said "generalized," I meant it in the broadest sense of the definition.
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby geese9 » Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:00 pm

I think you'd be surprised what one can see from a small airplane.
You can also slow them down quite a bit 60-70mph quite easily.
You can also fly circles if needed over a heavily congested bird area to get a better view if needed.
Binoculars work quite nicely as well.

All that being said I have no idea what DFG does in its aerial surveys.
I have however spent several hours in small airplanes scouting for birds.
I've been able to pick out as few as a dozen geese in the middle of miles of wheat fields.

Not an expert by any means here. Just sharing my personal experience from the aviating world.

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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby Greenstar » Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:01 pm

This is also the method they use to count birds in canada and the duck factory to set preseason limits. You compare counts from the air to counts from the ground.
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby troutbum43 » Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:34 pm

Mallards Only-Aerial photos are another tool used that are later closely examined for an exact count. But the number one tool is the biologist who do these surveys is years, in most cases decades of experience. You really don't buy that someone who has done something for 20 years can get good at it? Plus you "know" they don't do ground truthing? That I don't get. Surveys are done where the birds pot up. Generally...Closed zones and private land! So not a surprise you don't see those tax payer money wasting useless know nothing biologists at work.
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby Mallards Only » Sun Nov 22, 2009 9:17 am

Man, you guys are naive. Four or five years ago, Fish & Game predicted a banner year year for salmon returning on the Sac. They were calling for over 80,000 fish if I recall correctly. That year was one of the worst years on record at the time. You guys seem to think F & G has all the answers. When you pull your head out of the sand and take off your rose-colored glasses, you'll come to grips with reality. If you want to believe the numbers, believe them and make your trip to the Basin when the numbers are the highest and don't go when they're not. Continue to live in your internet scouting Disneyland and miss out on the reality of killing ducks rather than wondering why all those ducks in the survey are not working your spread.

Personally, I've seen the survey done. How many of you other guys can say that? I love how you all have your "opinion" and yet nothing to base your opinion on.
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby GGC » Sun Nov 22, 2009 10:23 am

Mallards Only wrote:Man, you guys are naive. Four or five years ago, Fish & Game predicted a banner year year for salmon returning on the Sac. They were calling for over 80,000 fish if I recall correctly. That year was one of the worst years on record at the time. You guys seem to think F & G has all the answers. When you pull your head out of the sand and take off your rose-colored glasses, you'll come to grips with reality. If you want to believe the numbers, believe them and make your trip to the Basin when the numbers are the highest and don't go when they're not. Continue to live in your internet scouting Disneyland and miss out on the reality of killing ducks rather than wondering why all those ducks in the survey are not working your spread.

Personally, I've seen the survey done. How many of you other guys can say that? I love how you all have your "opinion" and yet nothing to base your opinion on.


I don't get your point? DFG is offering data that is just that, data. This stuff is fact, not a guess or anything else. I have counted ducks from the air and counted salmon in a river. There are standard algorithms that are used to take those counts and make "estimates" of populations. Estimates can be wrong, but usually aren't... there are years of experience and history that goes into building the algorithms.

Anyway, I hunted at Lower Klamath this week Monday through Saturday and there are a LOT of birds there. Four of us killed four limits every day. Mostly Gadwall and Widgeon, a few Mallards. There are thousands and thousands of Bufflehead and Spoonies there right now.
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby davkrat » Sun Nov 22, 2009 10:23 am

Salmon or any anadromous species can be a bit of a crap shoot. If they counted "banner" smolt production they can look back at historical data and predict what the return will be. No I have not taken part in aerial surveys for ducks but I did work for DFG counting smolts in rotating screw traps on the American, Feather and Sacramento rivers for a season. Like any survey you can sit back and say that because "I" can't do something no-one can. I can't throw a football 60 yards, doesn't mean Brett Favre's old butt can't. I routinely survey rights-of-way for non-native plants. I can ID 6" plants from 30 yards away at 60mph. 10 year-ago I could not. If you rode in a car with me you would probably say I was full of BS but with years of experience you learn to do it. It's not much different from someone watching cans of tomatoes fly by and picking out the dented ones. At first you probably get motion sickness but after time everything slows down and you start to "see" things.

Ocean conditions play a huge part in returning salmon numbers. To some extent the smolts swim out in to a big black hole for three years and it can be anyone's guess what the return will be like. Warm ocean temps., low plankton numbers, large predators (squid/tuna) moving farther north all can impact salmon numbers. You can't blame DFG for not having a handle on every single unforeseen variable. Surveys are the best thing we have and they have a built in measure of error. That does not make them worthless. Doing nothing is worthless.

It sounds like your problem is not with surveys per say but with government employees. You are allowed to have your opinions. Also I now see you don't like internet scouting. I agree, I could care less what the numbers say that is not going to impact whether or not I go hunting. Conditions change from day to day and I love going out either way. My enjoyment in the field is not impacted in anyway by the ability of USFWS/DFG employee's amazing abilities to count ducks from the air.
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby tule » Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:21 am

While in the basin on the week of November 2nd we watched the plane fly over in quadrants doing the bird count, it was quite interesting watching them do the fly over. Those guys doing the counting are doing an estimate on the bird count, are they totally accurate, probably not, but they are dang close, its what they do for a living. Ive heard stories of competitions that these counters have of dropping a handful of rice on a black cloth, taking a quick look and making an estimated guess of how many grains of rice are on the cloth, and they come very close to the exact amount. Bird counting is a science, and it takes a talent to accomplish the task at hand, im quite sure its not a waste of time.

PS- Yes, they do get low enough to get a really good close-up of the birds, and they are going very slow as far as air speed is concerned so its not like they are in a fighter jet (really cool to watch them fly over in the basin!) doing the survey!!
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby Calikev » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:08 pm

It doesn't matter so arguing the semantics is useless guys. The bottom line is the same methodology is used every year. So the data may not be dialed in as accurately as you want, but it is the some data structure as years and years before. That is what is most important.

Now to the real fact.

The real fact is the Klamath Basin isn't what it used to be. The management has dramatically changed from 25-30 years as well as much of the Basin around it. Bird use isn't what it once was. It will never be like it was then, nor will anything else. Birds have permanently changed their flyway's and migration patterns due to changes up there. Water management has changed. The place does not hold birds like it once did. Look at surveys over the years. The numbers don't lie. No matter what the methodology is, the little dots they are seeing are less and less. Birds aren't hiding. They are not there. It's that simple.

Now talk to folks that have hunted up there since way back when. They use to slay the mallards and pins as well as the geese on a regular basis. Not many do these days. Especially early in the season. I just can't get excited about going up there early in the season anymore because it has become a gray duck shoot and it's more crowded then it was when the place use to lay out the green and chocolate's. Amazing.

The bottom line is until water management changes up there, the place will be a shadow of what it once was. For some, that's still good enough to have a good shoot time from time. However, for many, that place is just something they remember being special and unfortunately the younger guys will never know how good that place really was.
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby marsh-mello » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:45 pm

You know you can't see a dang thing from those planes jetting by at 200MPH...I don't now why they even consider using them in search and rescue missions in the ocean? What a waste of time and energy looking for a single bobbing head in the ocean when "everyone" knows you can't see squat from them. The guy who said just because you can't do something doesn't mean someone else can't. I have viewed computer simulation programs that have counting scenarios on them...much like the rice being dropped..it can, is and will continue to be done with actually a large degree of accuracy. More so than is being provided credit here by some closet "experts". It's painfully obvious that some folks have a chip on their shoulder about some things.

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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby Buick_C » Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:56 pm

hehe. this mallard's only guy is quite a hoot.
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby Mallards Only » Tue Nov 24, 2009 9:24 am

Buick_C wrote:hehe. this mallard's only guy is quite a hoot.

And some people will always be Kool-aid drinkers. Picking out a single survivor in an ocean is a helluva lot different than identifying individual duck species at 200 MPH. Even the Coast Guard knows that helicopters are more effective than planes. Planes are used primarily for searching for wreckage debris--not single survivors. And they sure as hell aren't counting the debris and dividing it into separate classifications of debris "species." Guesstimating total number of rice grains on piece of paper and computer simulation programs are also entirely different than distinguishing species. I've been in a small plane and flown over duck marshes, rivers, and lakes. In ideal conditions, one can see birds on the water and that's about it. There ain't no way one can tell whether they're mallards, gadwall, sprig, or any other duck species.

The only "chip" on my shoulder Ray is one from DFG employees getting on the forums and using PM's, emails, and posts to perpetuate inaccurate information, propoganda, and lies because they take criticism of some things personally. Like it or not, you are an employee of the State. That means my tax dollars pay your salary and I am entitled to have my opinion of how those tax dollars are spent. Sometimes, I can do something about it and sometimes I can't but I'll always be entitled to my opinion. Apparently, you like to be more like a politician than a biologist and sway the uneducated with your lies and propaganda to defend DFG's actions.

You kool-aid drinkers want to believe the surveys, go ahead. Make a trip to the Basin based on the numbers of mallards, pintail, or whatever you're after. Next time you're in a small plane though, take a look down though as you approach the ground and see if you think they can see individual species on the ground and count them. Then count yourself as one the educated, rather than a member of MM cult.
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby 7mallards » Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:17 am

You called me a "kool aid drinker" what the hell is that? Now I have to ask the question MALLARDS ONLY? Does this mean you really ONLY shoot mallards and NEVER shoot other ducks. Like most others on here I see people calling themselves mallard hunters but after a little boredom sets in and all that they get to shooting all brands of ducks.... Are you truly a PURIST or just saying you are?

As far as surveys go they are never 100% accurate nor are they inteded to be. The aerial surveys are done to ESTIMATE the number of ducks in an area not identify the exact number or type of duck.

I don't think your tax dollars pay the salary of DFG employees. I believe they come from license revenues. I could be wrong on this but I am pretty sure that is where the money comes from.

Lastly if you don't like it don't hunt waterfowl and don't pay attention to the propaganda as you stated.

By the way I hate Kool Aid....
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby marsh-mello » Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:05 pm

Well just pour me another glass and pass the pipe then!

First of all the survey planes don't travel 200 mph that's a lot closer to jetliner speeds than small prop plane speeds. But heck if it makes a better story and you can exaggerate a point to try and prop up your BS and that's all you got then have at it.

In the search and rescue training I took through the local Sheriff's office they made it quite abundantly clear that fix wing aircraft are VERY efficient at ground observation. I am more than sure that the "estimates" that are obtained through fixed wing surveys and followed up with helicopters and ground observations are more than accurate enough to ferret out both numbers and species. Are they 100% accurate..Duh...No! Are they accurate enough in their estimates to provide sound biological feedback and data to make sound resource management decisions and recommendations...Duh...Yes! For the most part birds of a feather do flock together...I seriously doubt that anyone is confusing the canvasback numbers with pintails. The wing speculum on different species helps a great deal with identifying individual species. The white on a gadwall which stands out like a sore thumb is nothing like the blue on a mallard and yes they do fly when they get buzzed over by the low flying planes.

You have a bigger chip on your shoulder than what you profess...no one except you knows all the answers right. If you were in charge everything would be run just perfect I am sure. Whatever, just answer a few questions. How would YOU survey birds for numbers and species? How would YOU do it over a multi-state region and over both public and private wetlands that are hundreds of miles apart? How would YOU account for both numbers and species. My guess is that you would use trained biologists and use airplanes. Or would you just forgo the entire process because it can't be done? You answer those questions and you'll begin to understand why folks think you such a hoot. I don't need to take anything personally because I don't count birds from a plane so again you miss the point and try to make it into something it's not. No doubt everyone is entitled to their personal opinions. I am entitled to mine as well and my personal opinion is that you don't have a clue about what you are talking about and the more you actually spout off with your disjointed rants the clearer that becomes to everyone.
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby tule » Wed Nov 25, 2009 5:29 pm

Ray,

Do the right thing and give "Mallards Only" back his tax money so he wont cry about his tax dollars at work.......you do have a penny in your pocket dont you Ray? :lol3:

I love it when people think they own government employees because their tax dollar is used to pay our wages, indeed my wages come from tax dollars, but it doesnt mean I owe anyone any special treatment. So, if i buy a Coca-cola, does that mean the delivery driver and every other employee for the beverage company needs to do what i say? No, and i dont expect them to either.

And NO, the survey planes do not travel at 200 MPH, at the VERY most its half that and only when they are going to and from survey areas, i bet they are going no faster than 80 MPH, at the most.
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby davkrat » Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:04 pm

You are not allowed to take your lunch at restaraunts either. How dare you eat food at any time between 11AM and 1PM, regardless of what time you started. Obviously stopping at a Burger King at noon is a waste of Government money :biggrin:
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby Mallards Only » Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:35 pm

Somehow, I doubt the Sheriff's office was referring to counting and surveying individual duck species when they were instructing you on the effectiveness of ground observation. Picking a single survivor out of a sea of blue is a little different than picking up a wing speculum in a sea or other wing speculums. Just another example of how you like to twist the facts. Even fixed wing aircraft are not that great at finding wreckages, survivors, etc but it's the best option they have for covering a lot of ground. They are far from thorough though. They can't even find plane crashes sometimes.

I never professed to have all the answers. I have an opinion. Sometimes my opinion is based on fact. Sometimes, it's based on observation. You might not like my opinions but that's OK. Most of the time, I don't like yours either. :hi:
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby marsh-mello » Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:20 pm

What a goof...your the one saying that it can't be done and offering nothing but exaggerated information and specious comparisons to try and bolster your negative nelly claims. You offer no answers because you don't have any, plain and simple...you really don't have any idea what your talking about. Your just spouting off...again.

I simply say don't question the competence of others based off your own incompetence.

Just FYI yes I have flown in smaller planes...you can actually see quite a bit and these planes are set up and flown with the intention of providing the best views possible communicating between both observers and pilots. They are not just on a joy ride.

So just how many miles/hours have you logged actually doing these surveys? You stated that you have PERSONALLY seen these surveys done and base your "opinion" on this fact and challenge others that they have not? You make it sound like you have flown in the planes yourself from how you present that information. So what are you saying have you actually flown in the plane and participated in the survey or have you just watched from the ground a plane flying by and then based your "facts" on this keen and insightful observation? You trying to take a inch and stretch it into a mile...you know like saying the planes fly at 200 MPH and other goofy comparisons like salmon returns from the rivers...what does that have to do with anything about flying planes and counting ducks. You say that "sometimes your opinions are based on fact" and "sometimes on observation"...I believe that there is a desperate lack of both in your observations, statements, opinions and conclusions. Clearly not one other person in this thread nor in the professional scientific community which accepts these surveys as sound agrees with you. If I had to look for one common denominator to a lot of these dysfunctional opinions you have, I might suggest to you, a closer look in your mirror.

:hi:
Last edited by marsh-mello on Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:37 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: klamath aerial survey

Postby slowshooter » Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:24 pm

That'll leave a mark.
All this for a bowl of borscht.
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