Oak Hammock Marsh IBA Blitz – October 1st 2016

For the first time in many months, this morning I had cold fingers as I cycled to work. To make matters worse, the building heating is not on yet and it’s been a pretty cold day in the office as well. We must be in the midst of fall!

So alas, winter is on its way but we still have ample opportunities to get out to Manitoba’s 38 IBAs. The program is doing its bit still to try to encourage folk to enjoy the final opportunities for citizen science bird monitoring ahead of winter and we have teamed up with our friends at Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre to undertake a final blitz of the season. This time we go out on Saturday October 1st to Oak Hammock to count as many birds as possible. We plan to start early, meeting at the centre at 7am and then setting out as four teams to begin with. Each team will set up at a corner of the IBA with the task of counting ducks and geese as they depart at sunrise to feed in the surrounding countryside. Around 10am, the teams will monitor different areas of the marsh to count the number of birds remaining. This is a great way of trying to gauge an accurate idea of the number of birds to be found at one of Manitoba’s top birding hotspots in early October.

Donna TUSW

Tundra Swans taken at the Shoal Lakes IBA October blitz in 2015. Counting birds flying from the marsh can be really fun! Photo copyright Donna Martin

Once we are finished, we will return to the centre at 1pm and shout volunteers a warm cup of coffee and lunch. you can’t get much better than that!

If you are interested in joining us, please contact Tim Poole, Manitoba IBA Program Coordinator at iba@naturemanitoba.ca or 204-943-9029

Donna RUBL

Hopefully there will be plenty of Rusty Blackbirdsin addition to what promises to be a spectacle of waterfowl. Photo copyright Donna Martin

Delta Marsh Blitz – The Final Tally

Following a day where groups of volunteers counting from vehicles and on foot and a second day of boat monitoring, we had recorded an impressive 32,070 birds across the IBA. If you were to visit parts of Delta in the coming weeks there is likely to be even more birds as waterfowl gather in larger numbers. The total species count was an equally impressive 145 species. Of these 59 species of songbird, 24 species of shorebird and an impressive 13 species of bird of prey. Impressively, shorebirds were the most numerous of all groups of birds counted, a total of 8199 across the 2 days with around half counted in one spot by Colin Blyth, Louanne Reid and Erica Alex.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Just a snapshot but almost half of all shorebirds counted during the blitz were counted with these shorebirds. Copyright Erica Alex

Total species Total individuals
Blackbirds 8 1210
Cormorants and Pelicans 2 2444
Grebe 4 479
Gulls and terns 8 7712
Long-legged Wader 4 270
Other – non-songbird 11 267
Other – songbird 46 946
Rails 3 2956
Raptor 13 264
Shorebirds 24 8199
Swallows 5 2446
Waterfowl 17 4883
 TOTAL 145 32076

Now to individual species. The most numerous species over 2 days was the Ring-billed Gull at 5367 individuals, over half counted by Christian and Matt at Ambroise Beach before they headed in different directions. The next most numerous species was the Semipalmated Sandpiper. On the Semipalmated theme, the Semipalmated Plover came in at 1936 individuals. This is a key figure as we are pretty sure this is greater than 1% of the global population of this species, thus this would have been a globally significant concentration of this species.

semipalmated-plover_3175_artuso

The star of the show, a Semipalmated Plover at Delta Marsh IBA. Photo copyright Christian Artuso

Finally, before posting the complete species lists, I thought it would be worth reflecting for a moment on what all this means. The large concentrations of shorebirds seen by Cam and the other Manitoba Sustainable Development staff, although apparently historically not unusual, has become a rare sight in recent years. There are some excellent resources available out there if you are interested in learning more about the history and management of the marsh, not least a new book published in 2015 called Delta: A Prairie Marsh and Its People by Glen Suggett, Gordon Goldsborough & the Delta History Group. For a quick reference, there is a synopsis on the web of a presentation given by Dr Jennifer Shay to Nature Manitoba in 1998 on the subject of Resource Management which includes some excellent information on Delta Marsh. Cal Cuthbert, someone raised in the shadow of Delta Marsh and with a background in wetland management was of the opinion that these larger concentrations present at Delta was a temporary phenomenon driven by declining water levels which have exposed suitable habitat. It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming years.

Anyway, posted below are the results from the Delta Marsh IBA Blitz.

Species Day 1 Day 2 Blitz Total
Canada Goose 930 23 953
Wood Duck 15 0 15
Gadwall 59 55 114
American Wigeon 194 27 221
Mallard 874 759 1633
Blue-winged Teal 875 385 1260
Northern Shoveler 13 13 26
Northern Pintail 128 1 129
Green-winged Teal 224 13 237
dabbling duck sp. 4 0 4
Canvasback 10 2 12
Redhead 6 14 20
Ring-necked Duck 7 4 11
Bufflehead 1 1 2
Common Goldeneye 6 0 6
Harlequin Duck 1 0 1
Hooded Merganser 5 3 8
Ruddy Duck 4 7 11
duck sp. 0 220 220
Pied-billed Grebe 58 10 68
Red-necked Grebe 2 0 2
Eared Grebe 2 2 4
Western Grebe 315 90 405
Double-crested Cormorant 1525 108 1633
American White Pelican 321 490 811
American Bittern 5 2 7
Great Blue Heron 60 91 151
Great Egret 24 14 38
Black-crowned Night-Heron 4 70 74
Turkey Vulture 13 0 13
Northern Harrier 45 9 54
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 0 1
Cooper’s Hawk 2 0 2
Northern Goshawk 2 0 2
Bald Eagle 40 17 57
Broad-winged Hawk 1 0 1
Swainson’s Hawk 3 0 3
Red-tailed Hawk 83 3 86
hawk sp. 4 0 4
Virginia Rail 2 1 3
Sora 2 0 2
American Coot 249 2702 2951
Sandhill Crane 132 0 132
American Avocet 9 5 14
Black-bellied Plover 54 8 62
Semipalmated Plover 1905 31 1936
Killdeer 71 38 109
Marbled Godwit 18 6 24
Ruddy Turnstone 3 3 6
Red Knot 1 0 1
Stilt Sandpiper 10 1 11
Sanderling 190 1 191
Baird’s Sandpiper 15 4 19
Least Sandpiper 1168 253 1421
White-rumped Sandpiper 26 0 26
Pectoral Sandpiper 107 0 107
Semipalmated Sandpiper 3598 56 3654
peep sp. 28 41 69
Short-billed Dowitcher 27 0 27
Long-billed Dowitcher 0 1 1
Wilson’s Snipe 10 8 18
Wilson’s Phalarope 12 4 16
Red-necked Phalarope 1 0 1
Spotted Sandpiper 29 11 40
Solitary Sandpiper 2 0 2
Greater Yellowlegs 151 84 235
Willet 4 7 11
Lesser Yellowlegs 163 35 198
Bonaparte’s Gull 436 5 441
Franklin’s Gull 1230 47 1277
Ring-billed Gull 5153 214 5367
Herring Gull 129 0 129
Caspian Tern 47 54 101
Black Tern 6 3 9
Common Tern 128 0 128
Forster’s Tern 144 72 216
Sterna sp. 44 0 44
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 33 0 33
Mourning Dove 53 1 54
Great Horned Owl 1 0 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 15 2 17
Belted Kingfisher 6 0 6
Red-headed Woodpecker 3 0 3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1 0 1
Downy Woodpecker 4 0 4
Hairy Woodpecker 2 0 2
Northern Flicker 14 0 14
American Kestrel 14 0 14
Merlin 20 3 23
Peregrine Falcon 3 0 3
Prairie Falcon 1 0 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1 0 1
Alder Flycatcher 1 0 1
Least Flycatcher 2 0 2
Eastern Phoebe 14 0 14
Eastern Kingbird 43 0 43
Blue-headed Vireo 1 0 1
Warbling Vireo 13 0 13
Red-eyed Vireo 1 0 1
Blue Jay 1 0 1
Black-billed Magpie 19 0 19
American Crow 15 4 19
Common Raven 18 2 20
Purple Martin 26 0 26
Tree Swallow 851 0 851
Bank Swallow 349 1 350
Barn Swallow 993 24 1017
Cliff Swallow 0 2 2
Swallow sp. 200 0 200
Black-capped Chickadee 1 0 1
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2 0 2
House Wren 11 0 11
Marsh Wren 14 1 15
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1 0 1
Eastern Bluebird 13 0 13
American Robin 8 0 8
Gray Catbird 11 1 12
European Starling 213 0 213
Cedar Waxwing 87 0 87
Tennessee Warbler 19 0 19
Orange-crowned Warbler 2 0 2
Nashville Warbler 4 0 4
Mourning Warbler 1 0 1
Common Yellowthroat 33 0 33
American Redstart 31 0 31
Cape May Warbler 1 0 1
Magnolia Warbler 2 0 2
Blackburnian Warbler 1 0 1
Yellow Warbler 28 1 29
Chestnut-sided Warbler 2 0 2
Blackpoll Warbler 9 0 9
Palm Warbler 10 0 10
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 10 0 10
Black-throated Green Warbler 0 2 2
Chipping Sparrow 5 0 5
Clay-colored Sparrow 61 0 61
Vesper Sparrow 5 0 5
Savannah Sparrow 58 0 58
Song Sparrow 41 1 42
Swamp Sparrow 6 0 6
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 13 0 13
Bobolink 2 0 2
Red-winged Blackbird 136 27 163
Western Meadowlark 9 0 9
Yellow-headed Blackbird 363 8 371
Brewer’s Blackbird 33 0 33
Common Grackle 3 2 5
Brown-headed Cowbird 1 0 1
Baltimore Oriole 11 0 11
Blackbird sp 615 0 615
American Goldfinch 99 2 101
House Sparrow 1 0 1
25863 6207 32070

Thanks again to all volunteers over the two days, as ever very much appreciated!