Winnipegosis Trip Blog 2 – Dog Lake IBA and the Narrows

Last weekend (May 7th) Christian Artuso of the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas and Tim Poole, IBA Coordinator were invited to deliver a workshop on the IBA Program to local people in Winnipegosis. In this first blog, Tim describes the second part of the journey to Winnipegosis and Dog Lake IBA.

Dog Lake IBA must be one of those unusual places where so many people must pass it and never realise it exists. It is just a few hundred metres from Highway 68, yet hidden away and with the excitement of the Narrows and the potential of a plethora of other birding spots along the route of your journey, then no wonder no one really ever stops to take a look. But here’s the thing, I have a feeling that Dog Lake might just be a wee bit of a birding gem for anyone who might take a look. Ok, it might lack the open shorelines for shorebirds, but it probably supports a multitude of waterbirds.

Dog Lake IBA

To access the site we had to peruse the map a little and use the backroads to locate the IBA shoreline. We accessed along two tracks, the one further south on the map below not being as interesting as the track further north.

dog lake

Dog Lake is a globally important spot for American White Pelican and nationally important for breeding Great Egret. Before heading down a track to the lake, we were able to spot our first egrets of the year.


Great Egret, note the feathered tail and green around the eye, a beautiful example of a bird in full breeding plumage

On arrival at the lake we were able to enter 42 species under the IBA Protocol, including over 2000 Ring-billed Gulls. To give an example (and blurry) impression of the densities of gulls breeding on the closest island, see this:


High concentrations of Ring-billed Gulls on Dog Lake

There were also plenty of other waterbirds including Western Grebes. Dog Lake currently has little to no monitoring from anybody and we would love to find volunteers to either caretaker the site or to visit occasionally to collect bird data. We would also like a volunteer to go out for a day with a GPS and map all the entry points to the IBA so future visitors can have a good idea of where to go. Please get in contact if that is something which might suit you.


Forsters Terns have also made their way back to Dog Lake and presumably would be nesting in the surrounding wetlands


There’s always a Red-winged Blackbird!

On to the Narrows, with Tundra Swans in a small bay just to the east. We carried onwards to Winnipegosis. The birding highlight was probably this Osprey with a rather large fish.


We also stopped off to look at an interesting pasture with huge concentrations of gulls and blackbirds and a first Wilsons Snipe of the day. All in all with two IBAs encountered already and a good number of birds, 63 species and over 5000 individuals in eBird.

Next stop, Sagemace and Coleman Bay Islands IBA