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.
|Total species||Total individuals|
|Cormorants and Pelicans||2||2444|
|Gulls and terns||8||7712|
|Other – non-songbird||11||267|
|Other – songbird||46||946|
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.
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|
|dabbling duck sp.||4||0||4|
|American White Pelican||321||490||811|
|Great Blue Heron||60||91||151|
|Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)||33||0||33|
|Great Horned Owl||1||0||1|
|Cape May Warbler||1||0||1|
|Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)||10||0||10|
|Black-throated Green Warbler||0||2||2|
Thanks again to all volunteers over the two days, as ever very much appreciated!