September IBA Contest Sponsored by Red River Coop

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September is a great month for raptor migration in Manitoba’s IBAs. You can also enter by submitting observations through our website at https://importantbirdareasmb.ca/submit-your-observations-comments/. At the end of the month we will do a draw of all eligible checklists for an opportunity to win a $50 gas card from Co-op, donated by Red River Co-op.

Augusts contest was won by Barbara and Phil Barnett for this checklist from Delta Marsh IBA – https://ebird.org/canada/view/checklist/S59381530.

Delta Marsh IBA Blitz Results Roundup

On Saturday August 17th volunteers from the Manitoba IBA Program descended on Delta Marsh IBA for a shorebird blitz. The IBA split into 5 main sections, and groups covered as much of the area as possible during a morning of birding.

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In Group A we had Cal and Gord. They covered the west side of the diversion all the way to Lynch’s Point. The most significant count of birds for this group was of 5000 Franklin’s Gulls heading north early in the morning. They had good numbers of Mallard, an estimated 800 primarily along the lakeshore off of Cram and Deep Creeks. The total of 17 species of shorebird was impressive, including 320 Least Sandpiper, 239 Semipalmated Sandpiper and 134 Lesser Yellowlegs. A Prairie Falcon was a significant bonus.

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Garry, Deanna and Rudolf took on Group B, an area from the east of the diversion to Delta Beach. They also had a large number of Franklin’s Gulls heading north, 3550 in total. 146 Forster’s Tern were also accounted for. 40 Western Grebes seemed low, something that they and other groups commented on afterwards. There were 11 species of shorebird in total including 170 Least Sandpiper.

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Semipalmated Sandpiper in a mixed flock. Copyright Christian Artuso

Group C consisted of Katharine, Pat, Wally and Chris. They covered an area from Delta Beach to St Ambroise. They counted an impressive 329 Purple Martins during their travels in this area and 24 Red-tailed Hawks. They found 8 species of shorebird. The total number of birds in this area was 1606.

Group D was split in two. On the road we had Jo, Betsy and Rob. Early morning they counted 600 Double-crested Cormorants from St Ambroise Beach Provincial Park. They also came across an adult and 14 full grown Gray Partridge chicks and 100 Bank Swallows, in the beach area. Later on in the morning they came across another 250 Double-crested Cormorant and 100 American White Pelican around 83 and 84N and a further 100 American White Pelican around St Marks. There was also a Krider’s red-tailed Hawk and a family of Red-headed Woodpecker along Highway 430.

The other part of this group was our beach team, heading from St Ambroise through to Clandeboye Bay. Gull numbers were pretty good in this area, 280 Franklin’s and 480 Ring-bills counted. There were 13 species of shorebird, the most significant numbers were of Semipalmated Sandpiper (385) and Least (82). Walking along the beach ridge, one might expect some good numbers of migrating warblers. On this occasion however, there was only a single Northern Waterthrush to join the Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats. They headed back along the beach and across to the end of PR430. At this point they counted 2095 Double-crested Cormorant, had 11 species of shorebird and an impressive number of gulls.

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Shorebirds landing on mudflats. Copyright Christian Artuso

After lunch this group headed to the PR227 dump locating 3 California Gull among the 700 Ring-bills and 100 Herring Gulls.

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Finally, Tim and Amanda walked a large portion of Twin Lake Beach. They only detected 8 species of shorebird including 42 Least Sandpiper, although frustratingly, they had to turn back with larger flocks taking flight on the horizon. There were 177 Bonaparte’s Gull in this area, by far the largest total of this species all day.

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Counting shorebirds often looked like this image at Twin Lakes Beach. Copyright Christian Artuso.


In total we detected 123 species and counted 26,352 individuals. The most abundant species were Canada Goose (1,071), Mallard (1,412), Franklin’s Gull (9,409), Ring-billed Gull (2,153) and Double-crested Cormorant (3,683). The total number of Purple Martin seems notable (498).

19 species of shorebird were recorded during the morning. The most abundant species was Least Sandpiper (764) followed by Semipalmated Sandpiper (668), Lesser Yellowlegs (221) and Greater Yellowlegs (129).

Here are the totals from the morning. Thank you to all our volunteers for an enjoyable morning in a great IBA.

Species Name Species Count Sample Size
Canada Goose 1,071 9
Wood Duck 28 8
Blue-winged Teal 110 8
Northern Shoveler 48 4
Gadwall 62 4
American Wigeon 37 2
Mallard 1,412 12
Green-winged Teal 59 4
Canvasback 6 2
Redhead 5 2
Bufflehead 4 1
Common Goldeneye 1 1
Hooded Merganser 19 5
Common Merganser 2 1
Ruddy Duck 3 1
duck sp. 72 3
Gray Partridge 15 1
Pied-billed Grebe 1 1
Western Grebe 53 6
Rock Pigeon 8 3
Mourning Dove 89 16
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 17 8
American Coot 2 1
Sandhill Crane 10 1
American Avocet 12 1
Semipalmated Plover 120 4
Killdeer 88 8
Marbled Godwit 75 6
Stilt Sandpiper 55 2
Sanderling 11 3
Baird’s Sandpiper 31 5
Least Sandpiper 764 10
White-rumped Sandpiper 19 2
Pectoral Sandpiper 55 5
Semipalmated Sandpiper 668 8
peep sp. 30 1
Short-billed Dowitcher 3 1
Wilson’s Snipe 2 2
Red-necked Phalarope 49 1
Spotted Sandpiper 22 6
Solitary Sandpiper 3 2
Greater Yellowlegs 129 12
Willet 1 1
Lesser Yellowlegs 271 10
shorebird sp. 65 2
Bonaparte’s Gull 185 4
Franklin’s Gull 9,409 10
Ring-billed Gull 2,153 15
California Gull 3 1
Herring Gull 173 8
Caspian Tern 55 6
Black Tern 1 1
Common Tern 103 4
Forster’s Tern 218 9
Double-crested Cormorant 3,683 12
American White Pelican 353 10
American Bittern 4 3
Great Blue Heron 11 5
Great Egret 9 2
Turkey Vulture 13 3
Northern Harrier 37 17
Bald Eagle 32 14
Swainson’s Hawk 5 3
Red-tailed Hawk 62 17
Belted Kingfisher 2 2
Red-headed Woodpecker 3 1
Downy Woodpecker 2 2
Hairy Woodpecker 2 1
Northern Flicker 5 4
American Kestrel 9 6
Merlin 13 10
Peregrine Falcon 1 1
Prairie Falcon 1 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 7 4
Least Flycatcher 13 4
Eastern Phoebe 3 3
Western Kingbird 6 3
Eastern Kingbird 144 21
Warbling Vireo 3 2
Red-eyed Vireo 5 4
Blue Jay 1 1
American Crow 2 1
Common Raven 60 10
Purple Martin 498 7
Tree Swallow 283 10
Bank Swallow 116 5
Barn Swallow 360 19
Cliff Swallow 2 1
House Wren 8 5
Sedge Wren 3 2
Marsh Wren 12 3
European Starling 131 6
Gray Catbird 14 8
Eastern Bluebird 1 1
American Robin 58 11
Cedar Waxwing 45 6
House Sparrow 12 1
Pine Siskin 3 2
American Goldfinch 23 9
Chipping Sparrow 12 5
Clay-colored Sparrow 20 6
White-throated Sparrow 1 1
Savannah Sparrow 41 5
Song Sparrow 81 12
Swamp Sparrow 22 3
Yellow-headed Blackbird 184 7
Bobolink 2 1
Western Meadowlark 14 9
Orchard Oriole 2 1
Baltimore Oriole 15 5
Red-winged Blackbird 942 12
Brown-headed Cowbird 1 1
Brewer’s Blackbird 577 8
Common Grackle 286 9
blackbird sp. 5 1
Northern Waterthrush 3 3
Black-and-white Warbler 2 1
Common Yellowthroat 34 5
American Redstart 2 2
Cape May Warbler 1 1
Magnolia Warbler 2 1
Yellow Warbler 131 12
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 5 4

Finally, this was Christian’s final IBA event before moving to his new home in Gatineau. He will be sorely missed, although he remains involved in the program even now from his new lofty position with the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Thank you once more for all your many contributions to this program in Manitoba.

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A familiar image, Christian taking photos of birds at the dump. Thanks Betsy Thorsteinson for capturing this!