Thank you Kelsey for an excellent report last week on our Red-headed Woodpecker Blitz at the North, West and East Shoal Lakes IBA. This is a short blog, with a few photos from the day, and a review of the results.
In total we counted over 3,800 birds and 120 species. Over 80% of the birds were counted in the IBA. The most common species was our old friend the Red-winged Blackbird, with 589 counted, of which 430 were in the IBA. Other impressive numbers were Song Sparrow (187) and Western Grebe (162). The Western Grebes, mainly counted from PR415, were carrying young. A windstorm had wiped out some of the colony earlier in the spring, so the sight of young was very much a good news story.
Great Egrets, American Bittern and Great Blue Herons are always good species to find. The Snowy Egret though did not show itself on the day. 51 Great Egrets suggests there must be a sizable colony within the IBA, possibly on the strip of land between West and East Shoal Lake. A surprisingly high number of Sandhill Crane (49) were encountered.
We encountered nine species of raptor, including 22 Red-tailed Hawk. Bald Eagles and Northern Harriers were unsurprisingly fairly numerous. 32 American Kestrel is not a surprise given that this species nests in the same habitat as our target Red-headed Woodpeckers. Below photos of a Red-tailed Hawk and an angry Merlin, both copyright of Randy Mooi.
Shorebirds are always fun, and we found 14 species, with Stilt Sandpiper being the most common. Early records of these northern breeders might suggest that these were failed breeders already taking part in their southbound migration.
Finally, our target species. the Red-headed Woodpecker is fairly abundant in this IBA. We also surveyed a large area around the IBA. In total we found this species at 14 points in the IBA. At two of these points, three woodpeckers were detected. This suggests a breeding population of around 16 breeding pairs in the IBA. We also found at least 7 breeding pairs around the IBA. In total there were 21 Red-headed Woodpeckers in the IBA and 11 outside the IBA, giving a total of 32 for the day.
A common view of a Red-headed Woodpecker. Copyright Randy Mooi
Finally, thank you to everyone who took part: Randy, Odette, Garry, Rudolf, Jo, Betsy, Katharine, Kelsey, Pat, Wally, Bonnie, Chris, Jon and Garry.
|Species Name||Inside IBA||Outside IBA||TOTAL|
|American White Pelican||89||11||100|
|Great Blue Heron||16||0||16|
|Great Crested Flycatcher||5||4||9|
|TOTAL NUMBER BIRDS||3078||765||3843|
|TOTAL NUMBER SPECIES||114||67||119|