Winnipegosis Trip Blog 4 –IBA Workshop

A couple of weekends back (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 final blog, Tim describes the an evening trip to Red Deer Point near Winnipegosis and adjacent to the Sagemace and Coleman Bay Islands IBA.

Finally, after three blogs, the end is in sight! We finally managed to reach the point where we actually get to do what we came for, not just drop in on IBAs and look at birds! Firstly the background. Kate Basford, Chair of the RM of Mossey River contacted me some time ago to enquire about the local IBA. Following some thought, the local community were keen to increase development opportunities in the area and have been investigating  points of interest and activities such as bird watching, which would attract people to the area. A look at the internet an eventually connection with the IBA program. At this point the plan started to evolve as it became clear that the original IBA data had come from 1986. Sensing an opportunity to increase awareness of the important places for wildlife on their own doorstep and our program goal of recruiting local community caretakers, we decided to put on a workshop for the local community on the IBA Program and the birds of the area.

Winnipegosis itself has some great birds, including three besting platforms for Ospreys, Purple Martins, Barn Swallows and Buffleheads.


Osprey over the Mossey River in Winnipegosis. Photo copyright Tim Poole

10 people attended the indoor session in the Mossey River Inn. I gave a short 30 minute presentation on the IBA Program and the local IBAs and then following some discussions we left to look at some of the birds of Red Deer Point. Attendees included a couple of council members, a local fisherman with an interest in developing tourism tours in the area, a couple from near Dauphin and some local agricultural producers. This was a great mix and made for some lively discussions. In relation to future IBA involvement, a few points were:

  • Land-based monitoring could occur on Red Deer Point even though it’s not in the IBA
  • There is a possibility of including this in the local school curriculum
  • A local IBA lead was needed, and has hopefully come forward
  • It is possible to survey the IBA from boats and this would be the future plan
  • Monitoring the Lake Winnipegosis Islands needs to begin by identifying where birds are nesting on local islands. Some sort of survey of fishermen and boat users could identify where these places were.
  • It is critical if this program is to work to bring the local community with this concept

Many of the birds were still around on Red Deer Point but shorebird numbers were a little lower. New species for the area included Wilson’s Phalarope and pair of Common Loons. The highlight, and it was a wow moment, was the appearance of a Peregrine Falcon around the shorebirds. Swooping in, the Peregrine startled the flocks of shorebirds, all except the American Avocets who stayed alert but did not flush. The views afforded of the birds I think were very much appreciated and Christian was in his element, showing off the different species and the individual differences between species.


Attendees watching the shorebirds


Christian explaining something in the scope!


Lesser Yellowlegs and American Avocets on Red Deer Point. All photos copyright Tim Poole

Returning to the Inn, via seeing a pair of Horned Grebe on a small pool by the road, Christian showed everyone how to enter the data into eBird. A quick summary and that was that, but hopefully this will not be the end but the beginning of a new chapter with the Manitoba IBA Program. Thanks must go to Kate Basford for organising things in Winnipegosis and Christian for coming along to give his expert advice. Hopefully the community has enough to get started and we can help them along the way to becoming caretakers of the Sagemace and Coleman Islands Bay IBA.

Final trip list:

Species Count
Canada Goose 3
Gadwall 4
Mallard 7
Blue-winged Teal 12
Northern Shoveler 2
Green-winged Teal 1
Ring-necked Duck 2
Common Loon 2
Red-necked Grebe 12
American White Pelican 7
Great Blue Heron 2
Northern Harrier 1
Bald Eagle 3
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Sora 1
American Coot 5
Sandhill Crane 2
American Avocet 21
Semipalmated Plover 2
Killdeer 2
Willet 1
Lesser Yellowlegs 79
Marbled Godwit 4
Least Sandpiper 1
Semipalmated Sandpiper 3
Short-billed Dowitcher 2
Wilson’s Phalarope 2
Ring-billed Gull 3
Common Tern 3
American Kestrel 1
Peregrine Falcon 1
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 1
Common Raven 3
Tree Swallow 2
American Robin 4
Palm Warbler 1
Vesper Sparrow 1
Savannah Sparrow 3
Red-winged Blackbird 50
Yellow-headed Blackbird 20
Common Grackle 10