Maps and Monitoring Forms for Manitoba IBA’s

This is (hopefully) the final blogpost of the day, following a (relative) flurry of activity this afternoon. We are now beginning to upload monitoring forms and maps for each IBA onto this website. Monitoring forms for the more commonly visited and easier accessed IBA’s are now available on the website plus maps for 2 IBA’s (Oak Hammock Marsh and Proven Lake). More will be following. In the meantime if you would like a monitoring form, or more likely, a map for a site which is currently unavailable, please contact Tim Poole at or (204) 943-9029.

The maps and monitoring forms are available under the ‘Volunteer’ tab or at

2014 Caretaker report

We are delighted to publish our 2014 Program Report on the website. This highlights the fantastic achievements of our Caretakers. I would say 3 Caretakers but since the start of 2015 we have gained a few more! Here is a snippet of some of the achievements from 2014 but to really get a feeling take a look at the report MB IBA 2014 Caretaker and Program report.

MB009 – NETLEY-LIBAU MARSH – Charlie McPherson

  • Spent almost 1000 hours time contributing to IBA-related activities
  • 40 hours spent building and installing bird boxes within the IBA.
  • Time spent advocating marsh improvement with the Lake Winnipeg Foundation.
  • Attended a workshop at the University of Winnipeg on Netley-Libau Marsh with the Lake Winnipeg Foundation. Delivered presentations at preliminary meeting at the Manitoba Hydro Building in Winnipeg and the 2nd and 3rd meetings
  • Delivered a presentation on the IBA Program at Oak Hammock Marsh.
  • Delivered a presentation to the Selkirk Birdwatchers Club.
  • Meeting with the Rural Municipality of St. Andrews to discuss mitigation for the marsh
  • 4 monitoring trips in 2014 includingGoldeye Lake and Folster’s Lake highlights included:
    • 100 Western Grebes, including young
    • Forster’s Tern colony
    • 4 pairs of Bald Eagle
    • 26 Red-necked grebe


  • 3 checklists submitted to eBird.
  • In September, Donna participated in World Shorebird Day, counting shorebirds and other species in the IBA.
  • Secured a donation from Rona of two pressure treated posts and hardware to erect 2 signs on the north side of the IBA.
  • Received a Lumber donation from Starr Building for North West and East Shoal Lake IBA worth approximately $400 to build some bird houses. Thanks to Sandra Cote for helping Donna Secure this donation.
  • Created a Facebook page for the North West and East Shoal Lake IBA linking to the Manitoba IBA website. See here.
  • Created a brochure for the IBA. Currently on hold.
  • Wrote a blogpost for the Manitoba IBA website on the Least Bittern in the North Shoal Lake (Least Bittern).
  • The main birding highlights included:
    • Herring and Ring-billed Gulls are thought to breed in the IBA but again, no colonies have been found yet.
    • Evidence of breeding Willet.
    • Red-necked Grebe bred successfully.
    • 2 adult Least Bitterns were observed in the summer. Following this, 5 juveniles were counted in the fall.
    • Black-crowned Night Heron are present, although there is currently no evidence of breeding.
    • American White Pelican present in low numbers throughout the summer and higher numbers in the fall. There may be a breeding colony.

MB091 – RIVERTON SANDY BAR, Joanne Smith

  • IBA signs and ‘Caution ground-nesting bird’ signs placed in parking area.
  • Placed information box with the IBA brochure in the parking area.
  • Delivered a presentation on the IBA alongside a presentation delivered by a representative of the East Interlake Conservation District. Audience of 25.
  • Set up Facebook page for Riverton Sandy Bar.
  • Regular visit to Riverton Sandy Bar, even in the depths of winter! Piping Plover have bred here in the past but not in 2014. Bird highlights included:
    • Red Knot, a trigger species on October 10.
    • 130 American White Pelican in early June.
    • 300 Ring-billed Gulls in late May.
    • 1500 Franklin’s Gulls in July
    • Shorebirds noted included Least Sandpiper, Killdeer, Marbled Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Black-bellied Plover, American Golden Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Hudsonian Godwit, Stilt Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpiper and Baird’s Sandpiper.
    • 48 Western Grebe in early June.
    • 1000 Snow Goose and 1000 Canada Goose during fall migration

Richard Cain produced a logo for the Manitoba IBA Program. The image of the American White Pelican was selected to represent our program. Manitoba is the most important place in North America for this species, being home to one-third of the global breeding population.IBA Pelican Logo Hi Res

Netley-Libau Marsh (MB009): An Infestation of Bald Eagles

Charlie McPherson offers the latest tales of eagles, pelicans, leaky boats and cans of mushroom soup from Netley-Libau Marsh.

Adult Bald Eagle at Netley-Liba Marsh. Copyright Charlie McPherson

Adult Bald Eagle at Netley-Libau Marsh. Copyright Charlie McPherson

Can you believe it?  I backed the boat in at the end of Warner Road this morning and forgot to put the drain plug in again, and Marg wasn’t there this time to let Homer know before he got it off the trailer.

It would have been too hard to reload and drain it from the trailer,  what with the wind blowing the boat off it’s reloading line and Lake Winnipeg’s waves lifting it up and laying it on top of submerged rocks and all (how nice,) so I plugged the thing and started bailing  and dropped the partly filled bailing can into the water and it floated just right/upright off towards Gimli. So I chug-a-lug as much water as I can out of the 4 litre milk jug knowing I’ll be out on the lake for quite some time, then cut the bottom off the jug and used it as  bailing can.

Marg and I boated the beach ridge last week doing the Netley-Libau Marsh (NLM) spring counts for Canada’s Important Bird Area (IBA) Program and counted 39 Bald Eagles. That was according to the IBA Protocol (no double counts.)  I was wanting to redo that count today just to make sure that we hadn’t double counted any. We hadn’t. In fact, more had arrived.

Today’s tally:  Warner Rd. at the NW corner of the IBA to Patricia Beach at the NE corner of the IBA – 25 km., plus up the Main Channel (south) to the center of the marsh and down the East Channel (north) back to the lake – 12 km.

Bald Eagle: 86 (WHOA!)
Nest Occupied: 5
Adults: 24
Juveniles: 62

028  Juvenile Bald Eagle - Netly-Libau Marsh

Juvenile Bald Eagle at Netley-Libau Marsh. Copyright Charlie McPherson

Other Species not in last week’s spring migration count: 

Tundra Swan: 20  

A 360 degree canvas of clean grey on clean grey was my treat for today, with additional  grey on grey added to yet even more grey on grey for fun.  Mixing beautiful greys and keeping them fresh and clean must be the Magic Painter’s specialty. I couldn’t find any errors. And then, to pull it all off,  a canvas within a canvas: a brilliant white sun poked it’s head out from amongst the grey to cast a sprawling, dazzling white net across the water to catch a flock of 20 White Pelicans struggling to break free in flight – the best white on white I’ve ever seen – crystals of backlit white water splashes marking their runways.   And off in the distance for an anchor, a pair of adult Bald Eagle sporting  all black coats and  sensitively painted all white diamonds for top hats and all white silk  for coat-tails.

GAWD! Was it ever cold on the lake: SE wind @ about 10+ and rising (not the best wind for lake travel – but doable,)  temps supposed to go to 10 C (ha, ha): long johns, lined pants, light down-lined coat under full cover skidoo suit; wool socks, leather wool-lined mitts (not gloves); cold left over white rice and black beans in a grey, mushroom soup gravy which, after bouncing around in the washtub waves and lifting the lid, I see a 5″x8″ of what I had seen all around me. Some crazy Lake Genie held back a few mushrooms for clean and fresh  grey clouds in a tint of grey soup for the  sky over a tone of grey soup for the lake,  spoonful’s of clean and fresh white rice for the net, tones of white rice mixed in just a touch of gravy for backlit pelicans and sparkles of white splashes for their runways; a few beans and a few grains of rice for the eagles, and a hodge/podge of mixed beans and gravy for the beach ridge. And to pull all that off, a few of the beans scattered about for the black backs of diving Western Grebes.

86 Bald Eagles! Who’d a thunk it! And that’s not counting the ones in the south end of the marsh. There’s always a few hanging around down there.