Aerial Detection Study in Puget Sound

Project Number: 136
Year Funded: 2012
Lead Institution(s): Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Canadian Wildlife Service
Project Lead: Joe Evenson
Collaborator(s): Heather Tschaekofske, Bryan Murphie, Tom Cyra, Don Kraege (WDFW)
Location: Washington State
Focal Species: All Sea Ducks, Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola), Barrow’s Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica), Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus histrionicus), Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis), Common Eider (Somateria mollissima), King Eider (Somateria spectabilis), Spectacled Eider (Somateria fischeri), Steller’s Eider (Polysticta stelleri), Common Merganser (Mergus merganser), Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus), Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator), Black Scoter (Melanitta americana), Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata), White-winged Scoter (Melanitta delgandi)
Project Description: A three phase approach was implemented to investigate the utility of digital imaging equipment in assessing the detectability of sea ducks during aerial surveys. Phase 1 was implemented during winter 2011 with the goal of testing various imaging equipment on board the survey aircraft (de Havilland DHC-2) to evaluate their effectiveness in being able to document sea ducks along a 50 m transect strip; please see Appendix 1 (Proposal to SDJV: Estimating Detectability of WDFW/PSAMP Aerial Sea Duck Surveys to Correct Estimates of Abundance from Current and Past Surveys in Puget Sound, Washington State) and Appendix 2 (Report to SDJV: Summary of the Winter 2011 WDFW/PSAMP Aerial Survey Sea Duck Detectability Project - Phase 1), at the end of this document for more information related to the goals, objectives, and problem statement, and a summary of the findings of Phase 1. Applying lessons learned in phase 1, we implemented phase 2 in November 2011 and March 2012 by conducting aerial survey flights over 8 survey days; of these, 5 were useable for data analysis. Days 1 and 2 were used as test flights and resulted in the need to modify the aircraft window by removing the glass located in front of the POV camera lens, as images shot through this window were obscured. Day 3 was not useable due to misalignment of imaging equipment. Phase 3, digital image processing and data analysis, was initiated in November 2012 and is summarized in this preliminary report. This report summarizes the progress and status of Phase 3, only, and is not intended to be a detailed or final report for this project (detectability rates reported should not be cited). A detailed report will be provided upon completion of the project.
Project Reports:
Aerial Detection Study in Puget Sound