North, East and West Shoal Lakes Blitz

On August 8th we had our first IBA Blitz of the year (much later than normal of course, but better late than never!). Volunteers went out in the North, East and West Shoal Lakes IBA in search of Red-headed Woodpeckers.

Red-headed Woodpecker. Copyright R. Mooi

The day started off with perfect weather for our 15-member blitz crew to survey for birds! We surveyed a large area of the IBA, as well as outside the IBA northeast of Inwood.

IBA group survey areas. Groups 1-5 are in the Shoal Lakes IBA, while Group 6 surveyed outside the IBA where Red-headed Woodpeckers have been spotted in the past. Copyright Manitoba IBA.

The IBA appeared much drier than in previous years and many marsh areas looked a lot more like dried ground with no water in sight! However, the low water level was a boon for groups that surveyed the edges of the Shoal Lakes, as a variety of shorebirds were using the shallow water and mud flats left over. No individual shorebird had a huge number of individuals (although there were 107 Greater Yellowlegs and 191 Lesser Yellowlegs) but we had a good number of different shorebird species at 13.

American Avocet. Copyright K. Schulz.
Mixed flock of shorebirds. Copyright R. Mooi.

A large number of Great Egrets were also spotted (55 individuals). Some folks were lucky enough to even see a Black-crowned Night-heron, which has overwise proven illusive this summer. Amanda and Alyssa surveyed an area outside the IBA (prior years with good Red-headed Woodpecker habitat) and ended up with a fairly large gathering of Franklin’s Gulls (744 individuals).

A Great Egret impersonating a Red-headed Woodpecker. Copyright K. Schulz.

Now to our focal species – Red-headed Woodpeckers. The species was abundant in this IBA, although surveying success seemed different than surveys in past years that occurred earlier in the year. Some groups found that without playback detection of Red-headed Woodpeckers was unlikely. Birds did, however, seem to respond to playback and call back or appear out from behind trees. Other groups did not experience the same thing and either saw birds without playback or found that the birds did not react to playback at all! The variation in experiences between groups was interesting.

 We found Red-headed Woodpeckers at points all across the IBA, as well as an area to the northeast of the IBA surveyed due to high numbers seen there last year. Each group was lucky enough to detect at least one Red-headed Woodpecker, and we had a day total count of 20 individuals.

Red-headed Woodpecker seen by Amanda and Alyssa in a much leafy-er habitat than expected. Copyright A. Shave

Despite the delayed time of year, we had a successful day in the Shoal Lakes IBA. Thank you again to all the volunteers that came out: Jo, Bonnie, Peter, Doreen, Katherine and John, Matt, Garry, Rudolf, John, Randy and Odette who joined Amanda, Alyssa and Nate on this blitz. Your dedication to birding and conservation is always appreciated and helps our feathered friends within Manitoba!

Our volunteers enjoying a socially distanced meet up and snacks. Copyright R. Mooi

Our full bird count is below.

Species NameInside IBAOutside IBATOTAL
Canada Goose90 090
Trumpeter Swan101
Wood Duck1 01
Blue-winged Teal235 0235
Northern Shoveler 12214
Mallard347 0347
Green-winged Teal16117
Ring-necked Duck1 01
Common Goldeneye202
Gadwell101
Northern Pintail900
Redhead23023
Duck spp30030
Hooded Merganser3 03
Sharp-tailed Grouse3 03
Pied-billed Grebe3 03
Western Grebe30 030
American Coot202
Belted Kingfisher101
Rock Pigeon426
Mourning Dove35136
Ruby-throated Hummingbird5 05
American Coot22
Sandhill Crane672188
American Avocet606
Baird’s Sandpiper303
Killdeer46 046
Marbled Godwit5 05
Pectoral Sandpiper9 09
Wilson’s Snipe14 014
Spotted Sandpiper1 01
Solitary Sandpiper17522
Least Sandpiper707
Stilt Sandpiper909
Greater Yellowlegs1073110
Lesser Yellowlegs191 0191
Tringa spp10010
Peep spp20020
Wilson’s Phalarope808
Bonaparte’s Gull101
Franklin’s Gull173744917
Herring Gull202
Ring-billed Gull12246168
Gull spp15015
Black Tern17 017
Common Tern14014
Forester’s Tern101
Double-crested Cormorant88
American White Pelican957102
American Bittern101
Black-crowned Night Heron101
Great Blue Heron7 07
Great Egret55 055
Turkey Vulture314
Northern Harrier4 04
Sharp-shinned Hawk1 01
Cooper’s Hawk1 01
Bald Eagle7 07
Red-tailed Hawk14317
Broad-winged Hawk202
Peregrine Falcon101
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker11 011
Red-headed Woodpecker13720
Downy Woodpecker7 07
Hairy Woodpecker101
Pileated Woodpecker6 06
Northern Flicker729
American Kestrel27229
Merlin224
Eastern Wood-Pewee11213
Eastern Phoebe77
Alder Flycatcher404
Least Flycatcher19625
Great Crested Flycatcher8 08
Eastern Kingbird9819117
Blue-headed Vireo202
Warbling Vireo15 015
Red-eyed Vireo27330
Blue Jay14115
Black-billed Magpie24125
American Crow401050
Common Raven13316
Black-capped Chickadee10111
Horned Lark 123
Purple Martin 123
Cliff Swallow303
Tree Swallow52 052
Bank Swallow101
Barn Swallow79685
Northern Rough-winged Swallow101
House Wren4 04
Sedge Wren20222
Marsh Wren505
European Starling73 073
Gray Catbird16117
Brown Thrasher3 03
Eastern Bluebird2020
Veery11
American Robin50858
Cedar Waxwing83891
American Goldfinch9914113
Chipping Sparrow14
Clay-colored Sparrow68169
Vesper Sparrow1 01
Savannah Sparrow31 031
Song Sparrow39544
Swamp Sparrow303
Yellow-headed Blackbird88
Western Meadowlark60 060
Baltimore Oriole15116
Red-winged Blackbird3129321
Brown-headed Cowbird16 016
Brewer’s Blackbird38 038
Common Grackle132132
Black-and-white Warbler 112
Chestnut-sided Warbler101
Tennessee Warbler1 01
Nashville Warbler1 01
Common Yellowthroat6 06
Yellow Warbler21223
Rose-breasted Grosbeak6 06
White-breasted Nuthatch404
House Sparrow18018
TOTAL NUMBER BIRDS4547
TOTAL NUMBER SPECIES122