On Saturday July 20th, a group of intrepid volunteers traveled to Riverton Sandy Bar to pull weeds. Thank you to Joanne, Lynnea, Kelsey and Bonnie for taking care of the days event. Kelsey Bell gives us a rundown of the mornings fun.
Often when you think of habitat loss, you think of trees being cut down for paper, areas being cleared for development, or land conversion for agriculture. So, it might be strange to think that the removal of vegetation can actually create habitat for a species of bird, the Piping Plover.
Piping Plovers nest on wide, sandy beaches with little vegetation. In Manitoba, areas such as this are under threat due to above average water levels or encroachment of weeds. Historically, Piping Plovers used the sand bar between the west shore of Lake Winnipeg and Hecla Islands (which together make up the Riverton Sandy Bar IBA) as nesting habitat. However, the last confirmed sighting was in 2000. Unfortunately, this likley due to the presence of white-sweet clover, an invasive weed that has taken over the sand bar.
The early morning trek out to the sand bar was a little chillier than expected, but upon arrival and after a quick survey of the area, 23 eager volunteers set to work. Volunteers from Winnipeg, Gimli and surrounding areas came for the morning, as well as a team from the East Interlake Conservation District and Manitoba Sustainable Development. With so many hands on deck, we quickly made headway.
Turns out the cooler weather was a blessing, because weed pulling is hard work. Everyone grabbed a bag and got to work. In no time at all, we had a pile of sweet clover filled bags. First, we started with some maintenance in the areas that had been worked on in previous years. It was great to hear all the positive comments from volunteers that had been involved for multiple years. Many commented on how great it looks since the weed pulls began and how much of a difference it has made for the habitat.
Once the maintenance was done, we dug into the bigger weed clearing. Everyone worked together, old friends and new acquaintances, with plenty of laughs and good conversations to go around; it hardly felt like work. As the final bags were being filled our day was cut just a little short by a sudden rain system moving through. We collected our bags, packed up our things and hiked back to our vehicles.
You’ve heard of “pack out what you pack in” or “leave it as you found it”, but with the help of so many hard working hands, I think we left it better than we found it. And we most certainly packed out more than what we packed in.
Thank you to everyone who came out! If you would like to help out, or you missed the last one, don’t worry! We have another fun filled day of weed pulling for plovers on Friday, August 16th. You can find information about the day here.
And of course, below is the list of birds observed that day:
|American White Pelican||6|