Impressive Gull Totals During a Hawk Watch at MB001 Delta Marsh IBA

Garry Budyk, John Weier and John Hays have been committed volunteers, not just for the IBA Program, but also for many of Manitoba’s avian monitoring programs, including the Breeding Bird Atlas, Chimney Swift Initiative and Breeding Bird Surveys. A recent trip by all three to Delta Marsh has given us an excellent opportunity to highlight their amazing contributions to the Manitoba IBA Program, through good old fashioned bird monitoring, and the confirmation of an IBA trigger at one of Manitoba’s most well-known IBAs.

On Saturday September 8th, the three amigos made their way to Delta Marsh to count hawks, part of the annual Nature Manitoba Fall Hawk Watch. During the day of birding, they managed to encounter some high numbers of birds. Most impressively was a total of Franklin’s Gulls of 10,500. An IBA trigger, being more than 1% of the global breeding population of this species! This was almost half the total birds encountered, with there also being 7,120 Ring-billed Gulls. The vast majority of these birds were on open flats at Lynch’s Point in the northwest corner of the IBA. They also found two Red Knot, an excellent species to find in southern Manitoba at this time of year.


Thousands of birds gathering at Lynch’s Point, dominated by Franklin’s Gulls. Copyright Garry Budyk


More gulls! Copyright Garry Budyk


Even more gulls! Copyright Garry Budyk


Pelicans and other waterbirds were also counted at Delta during the annual Hawk Watch. Copyright Garry Budyk

Here are the total birds for the day, within the IBA of course (the guys also have other lists outside the IBA).

Snow Goose 26
Canada Goose 2,570
Blue-winged Teal 160
Northern Shoveler 6
Gadwall 6
American Wigeon 3
Mallard 202
Northern Pintail 2
Green-winged Teal 17
Bufflehead 1
Hooded Merganser 2
Ruddy Duck 1
Sharp-tailed Grouse 8
Pied-billed Grebe 7
Horned Grebe 1
Western Grebe 4
Rock Pigeon 6
Mourning Dove 19
Sandhill Crane 145
Black-bellied Plover 1
Semipalmated Plover 4
Marbled Godwit 6
Red Knot 2
Sanderling 20
Baird’s Sandpiper 3
Least Sandpiper 5
Pectoral Sandpiper 5
Semipalmated Sandpiper 22
Spotted Sandpiper 3
Greater Yellowlegs 2
Lesser Yellowlegs 17
Bonaparte’s Gull 42
Franklin’s Gull 10,500
Ring-billed Gull 7,120
California Gull 1
Herring Gull 2
Common Tern 3
Forster’s Tern 44
Double-crested Cormorant 13
American White Pelican 80
Great Blue Heron 4
Great Egret 2
Osprey 1
Northern Harrier 5
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Bald Eagle 1
Red-tailed Hawk 8
Belted Kingfisher 2
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 8
Merlin 3
Peregrine Falcon 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Blue Jay 2
Common Raven 3
Horned Lark 2
Barn Swallow 36
Black-capped Chickadee 4
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
Marsh Wren 3
American Robin 2
European Starling 61
American Goldfinch 12
Clay-colored Sparrow 1
Vesper Sparrow 1
Savannah Sparrow 1
Swamp Sparrow 2
Yellow-headed Blackbird 5
Red-winged Blackbird 324
Rusty Blackbird 12
Brewer’s Blackbird 100
Common Grackle 6
blackbird sp. 100
American Redstart 1
Magnolia Warbler 1
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1