Manitoba’s First Shorebird Scrape

Exciting news came out of Oak Hammock Marsh last week with the construction finishing on Manitoba’s first shorebird scrape at the Wildlife Management Area.

The new shorebird scrape as seen from PR 220. Copyright C. Heald.

What is a scrape you might ask? It is a conservation tool that benefits many species, including shorebirds. A shallow depression is dug into the ground, and this depression is seasonally fed with water. Generally the scrape is wetter in the spring, due to spring rains and drier in the autumn. The shallow depression leads to shallow water, providing good habitat for aquatic invertebrates, and the various animals that feed on them (such as ducks, geese, shorebirds, and amphibians).

Canada Geese enjoying the shorebird scrape. Copyright C. Heald.

Scrapes are a common conservation tool in Europe, but less commonly employed in North America. Luckily, so far we seem to have a successful scrape, with a Lesser Yellowlegs spotted in a photo only two hours of the scrape being completed.

Can you spot the first shorebird visitor to to shorebird scrape? Copyright C. Heald.

If you are interested in visiting the shorebird scrape, you can find it on the southern edge of the pond closest to Provincial Road 220. It is visible from PR 220 or from Duck Pond Trail (with a viewing blind). Manitoba IBA will be at Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre’s Migration Festival on September 26th with spotting scopes, if you are interested in seeing what is out on the scrape. Manitoba IBA would also love to feature photos and bird lists of shorebirds (and other birds!) using the scrape, you can send them to iba@naturemanitoba.ca. There is also a new hotspot set up for the Oak Hammock Marsh – Shorebird Scrape on eBird to help us keep track of species using the scrape (versus the marsh as a whole).

Location of the shorebird scrape at Oak Hammock Marsh WMA

The Shorebird Scrape would not have been possible without funding and support from The Conservation Trust, Nature Manitoba, Province of Manitoba and Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre.