Gone is another month in Cordova, Alaska. We finished our nest island monitoring and spent the large majority of the month performing maintenance on islands that were below project-developed standards. Ideally, the islands possess at least 30% aerial cover provided by the sweet gale shrub. If they lack the desired proportion of sweet gale, we add shrubs until the desired level is achieved. To do this, crew members search for ideal shrubs nearby and transplant these shrubs to the island. In order to make room for those incoming shrubs, crew members often remove chunks of non-crucial landscape from the artificial nest islands. Too much vegetation and land mass on these artificial islands can result in a sinking island (negative freeboard). While landscaping occupies the lion's share of our nest island maintenance time, other issues do arise from time to time. Island anchors sometimes become tangled or loose, usually resulting in a rotating, drifting, or misplaced nest island. These…
Howdy folks. Summer is cruising right along and it seems like we have skipped over June. For us, the month was focused around nest island monitoring. We spent 8 days out at camp from the 13th to the 20th monitoring just under 400 islands. The nest island program was started in the 80's to help boost the nesting success of dusky Canada geese. The program placed artificial islands with transplanted sweet gale shrubs on ponds throughout the Copper River Delta. We spent our trip out at camp checking the islands for dusky nests and recording nest fate. We also observed the condition of the islands to see if any maintenance was required. Two common problems that require maintenance are missing anchors or landscaping issues with sweet gale plants. Beavers and other critters can create significant obstacles for establishing shrubs on islands as well as large ponds that create significant wave action.

We saw a lot of successful nests as well as some that had been depredated, but all signs …
I apologize to my followers as it has been a few weeks since I last wrote a blog post. We spent all of the second and the majority of the third week of May in Forest Service training workshops. We spent weeks three and four in the field, catching up on nest searching, performing nest checks, and conducting eagle surveys. We were lucky enough to catch a break in the rainy weather, enabling the crew to deploy nest-monitoring cameras on 75 different dusky Canada goose nests. Some goose eggs hatched, while others suffered varying forms of depredation. The crew collects the cameras from those nests with already known nest fates, regardless of success or failure, and deploys these cameras on new nests from late nesting or re-nesting geese.

Pictured on the left: A dusky Canada goose nest on one of a few hundred artificial nest islands constructed to help the geese avoid terrestrial predators and boost nest success. Pictured on the right: Many dusky Canada geese prefer to utilize slough banks…
May began with my first trip out to dusky camp. We arrived on Wednesday the second and after a couple days found out that we were a little early. Geese were still laying and not spending much time on their nests so it was hard to find many of them. The weather looked real bad for Friday and we had some boat troubles so we decided to come back to town for a day and let the geese progress further in the nesting process.

We headed back out on Saturday and the nest searching got better every day we were out there. The weather improved as well and we got to enjoy some nice sunny days on the delta. More geese were spending time on their nests and holding tight. We put cameras on all of the nests we found in an effort to discover what predators are killing dusky nests.
It is going to be very interesting to see what we find on our cameras. We will be heading back out to search for more nests and perform nest checks in the near future. 

With many sloughs, rivers and ponds on the delta poke boa…
We found ourselves in the middle of a fierce storm to begin my second week in Alaska. This gave us an opportunity to get trail cameras ready for our up coming project, seal up some waders, and get some GPS work done in the office.

The weather settled down on Wednesday and I was able to get out in the field the last three days of the week. Wednesday and Friday were spent working on a new project, starting this year, aimed at monitoring dusky nest survival by surveying for eagles as possible nest predators. We were able to check out our control and treatment plots and perform eagle surveys. On Thursday, I was able to get out on an Elodea project to help fix some transects. Elodea is an invasive aquatic plant in Alaska and it was great to get some experience with this project.

We have a big week coming up and I will be in the field for about eight days from Wednesday to Wednesday. We will be searching for dusky nests and setting out plot watcher cameras to observe possible depredation as…
Hi, my name is Nathan Boma and I am the new Ducks Unlimited intern working on the dusky Canada goose project in Cordova, Alaska with the US Forest Service. I am originally from Minnesota and have started this blog to document my experiences and promote the dusky Canada goose project on a tentative weekly basis.
I flew into Alaska a week ago Friday and the first week has flown by. I was able to settle in on the weekend and was lucky enough to have incredible weather that allowed me to get out on some beautiful hikes.
Once the work week started I was able to jump right in. Field season is beginning, so a lot of this week involved getting things prepared. A big part of the preparation was spending a day out on the Copper River Delta setting up field camp for the dusky project. On top of that, we conducted aerial surveys to locate and identify eagle nests for a future Canada goose depredation study.  In addition, I also got familiar with the office and gear compound.
I have felt at home f…