IBA Monitoring Priorities – Oak Hammock Marsh IBA

With a seemingly early spring jolting the world around us to life, it seems like the time has come to get ready for annual monitoring of Manitoba’s 38 IBAs. Over the next month or so, I am going to attempt to post some quick reviews of monitoring and caretaker opportunities for individual IBAs. This will help anyone going out to these places to consider entering their data under the IBA protocol. Today, I am going to start with the most well-known and well-visited IBA in Manitoba, Oak Hammock Marsh.

Oak Hammock Marsh is the most well visited IBA in Manitoba. Funnily enough I suspect it has the least entries under the IBA Protocol of all the most well known Manitoban IBAs. It would be fantastic if people would consider entering all their checklists in eBird (or send them to me to enter them), so to build a more accurate reflection of bird populations in this IBA. For anyone interested in learning a bit more about how to do this, there will be a short walk and talk on May 14th as part of the International Migratory Bird Day (see here).

If you don’t know, Oak Hammock Marsh is a 20 minute drive north of the Winnipeg perimeter between highways 7 and 8 (see directions). You can see a pdf of the IBA boundary by clicking on the link below:

MB010 Oak Hammock Marsh WMA

Originally designated for large populations of waterbirds, including waterfowl, shorebirds and other marsh birds, Oak Hammock Marsh is especially important during migration season. There are globally important populations of Canada Goose in spring and fall and Snow Goose during fall. Being a hemi-marsh, the water levels are human-controlled. Currently most of the marsh is not in drawdown and therefore the habitats are more suitable for waterfowl than shorebirds. The sod fields north of Oak Hammock, although not in the IBA are the best place currently for the globally Near-threatened Buff-breasted Sandpiper. The original trigger species were:

  1. American Coot
  2. Black-crowned Night-Heron
  3. Canada Goose
  4. Franklin’s Gulls
  5. Hudsonian Godwit
  6. Lesser Snow Goose
  7. Mallard
  8. Short-billed Dowitcher
  9. Tundra Swan
  10. White-rumped Sandpiper

Other key species to look out for are:

  1. Buff-breasted Sandpiper
  2. Rusty Blackbird

The monitoring priorities for 2016 are:

  • Complete checklists to be entered into eBird. If possible these checklists should follow the IBA Protocol.
  • Prioritise counting large flocks of waterbirds.
  • Although not in the IBA, enter Buff-breasted Sandpiper data from the sod fields to the north under the IBA Protocol.
  • Participate in the Oak Hammock Marsh Summer Breeding Census (watch the Manitoba Birds Yahoo Group for details.
  • Participate in the fall goose counts (more details will appear on http://www.oakhammockmarsh.ca/).

IBA Protocol routes exist and follow the Oak Hammock Marsh Summer Census zones. If possible enter your checklists under the zones used in this map:

MB010 Oak Hammock Marsh IBA monitoring route map

Any questions please let me know  on the contact details provided on this website.