Nature Manitoba Trip to Delta Marsh IBA and West Shoal Lake IBA

Rudolf Koes led a Nature Manitoba trip to Delta Marsh and West Shoal Lake, both IBAs on Saturday April 22nd. Garry Budyk has kindly let us post the results and a few of his photos form the day. What is really interesting is how many more birds were present in the IBA due to the new boundaries. This is especially true of the PR227 dump, a hotspot for gull activity and now part of Delta Marsh IBA. Other checklists submitted within Delta Marsh IBA which were not previously in the boundary were at PR #411, St. Ambroise (hamlet), St. Marks, PR #227 and Oakland. Take a look below at the photos and the checklists submitted by Garry to eBird.

Also look out for photos of a funky hybrid gull and a couple of rare visitors to Manitoba in spring.

West Shoal Lake


Great Egret in full breeding regalia at West Shoal Lake taken by Garry Budyk

Species Name Apr 22
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 9
Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) 3
Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus) 4
Gadwall (Anas strepera) 2
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 14
Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors) 10
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) 5
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) 12
Canvasback (Aythya valisineria) 46
Redhead (Aythya americana) 54
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) 35
Greater Scaup (Aythya marila) 3
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) 65
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) 32
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) 12
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) 30
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) 8
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) 10
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) 32
American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) 1
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 5
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 2
Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) 3
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) 4
Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus) 1
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) 2
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) 5
Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) 1
Bonaparte’s Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia) 3
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 20
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 2
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) 1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 1
Merlin (Falco columbarius) 1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 1
Common Raven (Corvus corax) 5
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) 1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) 14
American Tree Sparrow (Spizelloides arborea) 1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 3
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) 180
Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) 5
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) 1

Delta Marsh IBA


A beautiful immature dark morph Rough-legged Hawk taken by Garry Budyk

Species Name Apr 22
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 70
Gadwall (Anas strepera) 14
American Wigeon (Anas americana) 69
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 113
Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors) 24
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) 19
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) 236
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) 160
Canvasback (Aythya valisineria) 10
Redhead (Aythya americana) 57
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) 50
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) 12
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) 8
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) 1
Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus) 1
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) 1
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) 885
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) 1
Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) 13
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) 6
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 1
Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus) 9
American Coot (Fulica americana) 15
American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) 1
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) 6
Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa) 3
Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata) 4
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) 22
Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan) 183
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 2,002
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 527
Herring x Glaucous Gull (hybrid) (Larus argentatus x hyperboreus) 1
Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) 13
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 2
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) 2
Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus) 1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 14
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) 7
Merlin (Falco columbarius) 1
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) 3
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) 1
Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia) 1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 2
Common Raven (Corvus corax) 12
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) 1
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) 2
Townsend’s Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi) 1
Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) 1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 38
Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius) 1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 43
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) 28
American Tree Sparrow (Spizelloides arborea) 5
Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) 4
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) 8
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) 1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 4
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) 172
Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) 19
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) 1
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus) 3
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) 43

Now for the rare and unusual records for the day. First the rarities. The first is a Varied Thrush. This is a species which breeds in dense conifer forest of the Pacific northwest but is an occasional winter visitor to Manitoba.


Female Varied Thrush spotted near Delta Beach. Taken by Garry Budyk

Another annual winter visitor to Manitoba is the Townsend’s Solitaire. This species also breeds in the conifer forests of the Pacific northwest.


This Townsend’s Solitaire was spotted along PR411. Taken by Garry Budyk

Finally, gulls are seemingly one of the most regular source of at least noticeable hybridisation in bird populations. On this occasion at the PR227 dump a hybrid Glaucous and Herring Gull, also known as a Nelson’s Gull. Due to the unusual plumage Rudolf sent Garry’s photo to gull expert Amar Ayyash who gave the following reponse:

“… keep in mind that most hybrid identifications usually involve a good deal of guessing (educated guessing). Birds like this, with very pale gray upperparts are always suspected of having Glaucous influence. What gray-backed hybrid combinations are “expected” with Glaucous? Herring or Glaucous-winged. The pale eye suggests another pale-eyed species is involved, and the yellowish eye-ring helps point to Herring. Notice the outer primaries have a diluted dark gray pattern (like Kumlien’s Gull), something we often see in Glaucous x Herrings.”

Hybrid gull

Compare the Herring Gull on the left with the hybrid Glaucous x Herring Gull on the right. Taken by Garry Budyk

Thanks Garry for the list and the photos!