On September 19th volunteers headed to Riverton Sandy Bar IBA for a morning of beautiful fall weather, birding, and weed pulling. Here is a report of the successful day from Alyssa.
The morning started off by sharing coffee and snacks in the parking lot as we waited for everyone to arrive. Amanda, assuming the morning would be chilly, brought more than enough coffee for 10 people. Perhaps it was a ploy to energize the group into weed-pulling machines?!?
After mingling, we hiked the roughly 1.5km stretch to our destination. The weeds looked green and healthy as ever, even with several days of fall weather already past. The group got to work tackling areas that would be most desirable for nesting shorebird habitat. Clover, Burdock, and silverweed were quite abundant when we arrived (but not when we left!). It is not often that habitat restoration involves removing vegetation from the area, but by removing weeds we hope to improve the habitat to the sandy-beach qualities desired by some species of shorebirds and terns. The Piping Plover, for example, is a species at risk that has historically nested in this IBA. Although this species has not been seen at Sandy Bar since 2004, they nested at an undisclosed location in Manitoba in 2016. Perhaps our continued efforts will aid in its return.
Around noon the team took a well-deserved break and hiked down the spit in search of shorebirds. We saw a variety of shorebirds, waterfowl, and a few other migrants. Yellow-rumped Warblers have clearly started their migration down south, as they were one of the most abundant species recorded for the day (second to over 600 Canada Geese spotted). Some other highlights were a Ross’s Goose and a Greater White-fronted Goose. We were also lucky enough to have about 15 Sanderlings come very close to our group. They were clearly distracted by all the good grub.
As many of you may know, identifying fall shorebirds can be a bit of a challenge. Some birds, however, were quite cooperative and stood side-by-side with other species so we could have a direct comparison. By seeing them side-by side we could see the daintier qualities of a Golden Plover when compared directly with a chunkier Black-bellied Plover, as well as the black “armpit” of the Black-bellied Plover.
A few folks popped in at different times throughout the day, but overall we had a total of 10 of us pulling weeds. Together we filled just over 20 bags to the brim with tightly packed weeds, which is about two bags a person!
We would like to give a big thank you to Ann, Jessica, Peter, Jock, Lynnea, Adam, Joanne and Christian for joining us in our weed pull event this year! We are looking forward to holding future weedpull events in 2021, so stay tuned.
Thank you to Christian for providing our species list for the day.
|Greater White-fronted Goose||1|
|American White Pelican||9|