IBA Blitz at Delta Marsh

The Province of Manitoba and the Manitoba IBA Program will be coordinating a blitz of all of Delta Marsh over the weekend of May 28 and 29. Monitoring will take place on both mornings. We will be hoping to organise a thank you meal on one of the lunchtimes. We are looking for different groups of people, including:
1. Experienced boat handlers (boats will be available)
2. Experience of counting birds from a boat
3. Are happy to monitor birds on foot through a hemi-marsh i.e. get your feet a bit wet
4. Would be happy to drive around the roads and tracks monitoring the birds in the area
The plans are still being developed but if you are available to come to Delta Marsh on either of those dates, please contact us on iba@naturemanitoba.ca

Update on IBA Program

For anyone able to pick this up and not on our email distribution list, here is a quick update on some of the goings on in the Manitoba IBA Program
Upcoming Events
  • We have a program of events planned for 2016, including at least 5 bird blitzes. news on these will be distributed by email and on the blog in due course. In the meantime we have a busy start to May. On May 7th, Christian Artuso and I will be heading up to Winnipegosis to deliver a workshop on the IBA Program. We will give an introduction to the IBA Program and some of the birds you would expect to encounter in the local IBAs, including Sagemace and Coleman Bay Islands (http://www.ibacanada.ca/site.jsp?siteID=MB081). If you know of anyone living in the area who might be interested, please get in contact with me.
  • Closer to Winnipeg, International Migratory Bird Day is coming up and Oak Hammock Marsh is the place to be. We will be giving a birding walk at 8am in the morning, demonstrating to people how to carry out the IBA Protocol and hopefully see some fun birds. At 10am Christian and I will be giving a talk on the IBA Program and how to use eBird. The cost of attending is the standard cost of entering the centre. Christian will be giving another talk at 11am on Manitoba’s returning songbirds and then at 1am, Paula Grieef will give what I am sure will be an excellent workshop on birding by ear. To complete the day, there will be an opportunity from 2:30pm to look at some binoculars (see http://www.oakhammockmarsh.ca/events/international-migratory-bird-day/). In addition, if there is any interest in doing a quick IBA blitz at Oak Hammock following some of the events listed, then please let me know.
  • If you are further afield and not going to make it to Oak Hammock, then I really would encourage you to visit your local IBA and collect as much bird data as possible. This is a fantastic opportunity to get out and enjoy the birds in your area. If you do get out, then please send me your completed eBird checklists – it would be fun to post the number of IBAs monitored and what was seen on our blog.
The Blog
Following a rush of blood to the head, there are now a number of new blogs on the website including:
Funding news
We would like to thank our new funders who have in recent months generously donated to the program. We have recently received new funding from MEC Advocacy and Awareness, The Winnipeg Foundation, TD Friends of the Environment Fund, Blennerhassett Family Foundation and Province of Manitoba Green Team. For a full list of funding partners see https://importantbirdareasmb.ca/donors-and-supporters/. Thanks are also due to Environment Canada’s EcoAction Community Fund who supported the program since 2014 until March 31st 2016.
La Riviere Raptor Festival
It was great to see some familiar faces and some new faces at the La Riviere Raptor Festival. It was a fantastic day for all the family and I would really encourage people who did not attend this year to check it out in 2017.
Grassland Bird Conservation Guide
The final output from the EcoAction Program is the new Landowners Guide to Grassland Bird Conservation in Manitoba. If you haven’t see it already, please check it out on our website at https://importantbirdareasmb.ca/manitoba-grassland-bird-initiative/.
Volunteer Reporting
I have updated the volunteer hour reporting forms and will post to the website. If you wish to use one of our bird checklists to record data and send to me to enter into eBird, you can download the copies at https://importantbirdareasmb.ca/volunteer/maps-and-monitoring-forms/. Remember, if you visit and IBA and eBird it, we can record the volunteer hours. These hours are an important part of fundraising to continue the program.
Other IBA news
Bird Studies Canada are looking for a new IBA Coordinator for Ontario with the deadline just a few days away. If you are, or know of anyone interested in this post, please see http://www.birdscanada.org/news/important-bird-and-biodiversity-areas-coordinator-ontario

Whitewater Lake IBA, a Birders Paradise

In celebration of Nature Week from Travel Manitoba, it’s a great opportunity to share some images from Manitoba’s top places for birds. Donna Martin has kindly sent us some fantastic images from a day out last week at Whitewater Lake near Deloraine. We are also fortunate to have two amazing volunteer Caretakers for this site, Colin Blyth and Gillian Richards. If you travel to Whitewater Lake in the coming weeks, we would love to see your checklists entered on eBird. If you need some help with this, please let us know at iba@naturemanitoba.ca.


Formerly a rarity in Manitoba, the White-faced Ibis has seemingly become numerous at Whitewater Lake. Photo copyright Donna Martin


Whitewater Lake is not just a great place for birds. Note the changing landuse in the background, a forewarning of things to come? Photo copyright Donna Martin


A close-up of a wonderful White-faced Ibis. In the coming weeks, the lake will become a temporary home to thousands of migrating shorebirds. Photo copyright Donna Martin

IBA Monitoring Priorities – Delta Marsh

Our second in the series of IBA monitoring priorities looks at the needs around Delta Marsh IBA. After a few exchanges on Facebook recently regarding the boundary of the Delta Marsh IBA, it seemed like a good time to use this site for the next blog.

Delta Marsh, made famous by a combination of Delta Waterfowl and one of North America’s leading bird banding stations, is known for large and diverse populations of birds. Many birdwatchers visit the IBA during spring migration to check the ridge for migrant songbirds on their route north. What is most impressive are the large concentrations of waterbirds, especially ducks and geese. In addition, the marsh has been known as a place for marsh birds such as Yellow Warbler and Common Yellowthroat.

On the south edge of Lake Manitoba, the IBA includes Ambroise Beach and Delta Beach.

You can see a pdf of the IBA boundary by clicking on the link below:


and a Google map here:


Fall migration is probably the key period at Delta Marsh for both diving (Canvasback, Redhead, Lesser Scaup) and dabbling (Mallard, Gadwall, American Wigeon, and Northern Pintail) ducks.  Around 100,000 waterfowl have been detected during aerial surveys. Canada Geese and Snow Geese also stage in large numbers in spring and fall. The beaches are also good places to monitor shorebirds such as Sanderling and Ruddy Turnstones. Western Grebe are a significant breeding and staging species.

According to the original IBA citation, the following are priority species:

  1. Black-crowned Night-Heron
  2. Forster’s Tern
  3. Snow Goose
  4. Mallard
  5. Western Grebe

18_Artuso_Western Grebe_7872_adult and juv

The original citation also highlights the globally important populations of waterfowl. Other IUCN-listed species such as Rusty Blackbird and Horned Grebe are also worthy of paying special attention.

Donna RUBL

The internationally threatened Rusty Blackbird in all its rusty glory. Photo copyright Donna Martin

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.
  • Enter any birds counted outside the IBA under the IBA Protocol while ensuring the eBird point is not in the IBA
  • Add checklists of count of non-target species encountered during other events e.g. fall hawk watches, Nature MB birding trips
  • Do not be afraid to include monitoring in some areas outside the IBA, especially Lake Francis to the east but make sure any birds recorded outside the IBA are listed on separate checklists.

delta iba protocol

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).

I can provide a larger printed version of the map and include roads, etc for anyone who requests it. Please use the contact details provided on this website.

Trumpeter Swans, IBA and The Express Weekly News

Nice little piece in The Express Weekly News this week, with a photo taken by Riverton Sandy Bar IBA Caretaker, Joanne Smith. The lovely photo of a Trumpeter Swan swimming next to a Canada Goose standing on some ice sums up current weather conditions nicely. Although taken near her home in Hodgson rather than Riverton, the text mentions the IBA Program, so well done Joanne!

Joanne photo Express Weekly.jpg