Manitoba IBA Program Update For Early June

Here is our early June update on the Manitoba IBA Program

Summer Blitz Program

We are aiming to organise three bird blitzes of Manitoba’s IBAs by the end of the first week in August. All of these will be in southwestern IBAs. Unfortunately poor weather prevented us from delivering the Delta Marsh blitz in late May but we believe the three planned will provide good variety of places and species to keep everyone on their toes. The current plan is:

  1. Sunday June 19 – Oak Lake and Plum Lakes IBA near Virden
  2. July 16 or 17 – Southwestern Manitoba Mixed-Grass Prairie IBA
  3. Sunday August 7 – Whitewater Lake IBA, Deloraine

For more information see

Summer Student

Thanks to a grant from the Province of Manitoba Green Team, we welcomed Marshall Birch back as Program Assistant for a few months over this summer. Marshall has been a great help on a number of tasks, including helping with making resources for the program, research and assisting with the blitz program.

IBA in the news

Following an appearance on CBC, Donna Martin was joined by a journalist from the Express Weekly. You can see a link to the article (or a scan) , including quotes from Donna and me at

More Monitoring Needs

We are keen to partner with other organisations and programs as we are all contributing ultimately to the same outcomes – conservation of birds. We are therefore asking people to support a couple of things if possible:

  1. Oak Hammock Marsh Summer Breeding Census,
  2. Piping Plover International Census,

Some of our volunteers are already involved in supporting other programs such as the Breeding Bird Survey, a critical long-term monitoring scheme for birds across North America.

Trip blogs

One of the delights of the summer is the opportunity to get out and see IBAs, preferably with our volunteers. Here is a summary of recent blogs:

Proven Lake trip blog by Marshall –

Proven Lake trip ‘videos’ –

Oak Lake and Plum Lakes IBA trip –

Douglas Marsh IBA –

Big Grass Marsh IBA Trip report –

IBA Protocol

Finally, I have been contacting folk about the IBA Protocol on eBird. It is important to use it on every trip to an IBA as your data would not maximise its potential without it. Here is a quick note –

Thanks and have a great weekend



Donna Martin took this photo of a White-faced Ibis earlier this year. Come along in early August to see this and more at Whitewater Lake. Photo copyright Donna Martin

Volunteers Needed for Summer IBA Blitzes

Good afternoon everyone

Firstly, we will be going ahead with a blitz of Oak Lake and Plum Lakes IBA next Sunday, June 19th. Start time tbd but probably between 7-8. We have enough people for 2-3 teams currently but it would be great if we could get more folk coming along to really give the IBA Program in the area some additional help. This is a globally important IBA, mainly for waterbirds but also has a mix of habitats making it an interesting area to bird. I will be leaving with a few people from Winnipeg early in the morning if anyone else might be interested.

We are also looking to do a couple of blitzes in other southwestern IBAs by the end of the 2016 season. The plans currently are:

July 15 or 16 – Southwestern Manitoba Mixed-grass Prairie IBA

We would be monitoring breeding birds, however in this case we will target Species At Risk, especially Sprague’s Pipit, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Loggerhead Shrike, Ferruginous Hawk and Baird’s Sparrow, plus other rarities such as Grasshopper Sparrow and Bobolink.

Last year we did this in 5 teams and that would be my intention for 2016. We also managed to get permission to enter a few properties and again, I would hope to replicate this. We would start early and meet for lunch at the Chicken Chef in Melita. We have a few folk who will likely come from Winnipeg but again we would love getting volunteers from the Southwest. I would also be really keen to team up some local people with our IBA volunteers.


Ferruginous Hawk in the Southwestern Manitoba Mixed-Grass Prairie IBA. Photo copyright Tim Poole

August 7 – Whitewater Lake

We would target the large concentrations of shorebirds in the ephemeral wetlands. There were large populations across these wetlands in 2015 and we suspect there may be globally important congregations passing through Whitewater. We will probably go for the Sunday and get groups to cover the lake edges (or nearest roads) and some of the potholes to the north and west finishing in Boissevain for lunch. Again we can provide gas cards for people who travel further.

Spaces might be limited on these blitzes depending on interest so please let me know if you would like to join us for some fun birding!


This Virginia Rail peeked his head through the grass at Whitewater Lake IBA in 2015. And maybe 2016? Photo by Tim Poole