2022 Fall International Shorebird Survey Round Up

The Manitoba IBA program has been coordinating annual spring and fall International Shorebird Surveys (ISS) in 4 of our IBAs: Whitewater Lake IBA, Oak/Plum Lakes IBA, Oak Hammock Marsh IBA, and Shoal Lakes IBA. The goal of these surveys is to track trends of global shorebirds long-term. Thanks our incredibly dedicated volunteers and staff, 2022 was another great season surveying for shorebirds across Manitoba! Each year presents its own challenges and unique weather patterns, and 2022 was no different. The high spring water levels carried into the fall, which resulted in flooded fields, ditches, and other areas similar to the spring season. Results of the 2022 ISS Spring roundup can be found here.

We try to visit each route 3 times in the spring season and 3 times in the fall season to count shorebirds in migration. The fall ISS period encompasses July 11th to October 25th, with August 10th – September 10th considered the peak of the survey period. Below you will find the results for the Fall 2022 season. Please note, multiple species are observed during the ISS, but only shorebirds are included in this data.

Whitewater Lake

2022 Fall Whitewater Lake Shorebird Counts
SpeciesTotal # of Individuals Proportion of Individuals (%)
American Avocet626
Baird’s Sandpiper434
Greater Yellowlegs828
Least Sandpiper283
Lesser Yellowlegs13212
Long-billed Dowitcher28727
Marbled Godwit394
Pectoral Sandpiper262
Peep sp./ Shorebird sp.323
Ruddy Turnstone10
Semipalmated Plover20
Semipalmated Sandpiper40
Short-Billed Dowitcher353
Short/Long-billed Dowitcher999
Upland Sandpiper91
Wilson’s Phalarope333
Wilson’s Snipe101
Total # of Species19
Data based on 16 surveys.

Whitewater Lake was surveyed a total of 21 times over the season. On the east side of the lake, routes E1, E2, and E3 were each visited once. Sexton’s point is the only stationary route, and was surveyed 5 times. Switching to the west side of the lake, W1 was surveyed 3 times, W2 surveyed 7 times, and W3 surveyed 4 times. W2 had the highest number of shorebirds observed compared to all other Manitoba ISS routes. A large number (over 100 individuals) of Lesser Yellowlegs, Long-billed Dowitcher, and Willets were each observed at Whitewater Lake during the fall migration.

A big thank you to Gillian Richards, Glennis Lewis, Kathryn Hyndman, Tim Poole and Aynsley Woods for surveying Whitewater Lake!

Oak Lake/Plum Lakes

2022 Fall Oak Lake Shorebird Counts
SpeciesTotal # of Individuals Proportion of Individuals (%)
American Avocet32
Greater Yellowlegs2516
Least Sandpiper75
Lesser Yellowlegs2114
Long-billed Dowitcher3523
Pectoral Sandpiper85
Semipalmated Plover11
Solitary Sandpiper11
Spotted Sandpiper53
Upland Sandpiper21
Wilson’s Phalarope1610
Wilson’s Snipe53
Total # of Species14 
Data based on 8 surveys.

Over the fall season, Oak/Plum Lakes IBA was surveyed a total of 9 times. Routes 3 and 5, both of which are stationary routes, were not surveyed due to flooding and roads being inaccessible. Route 1 was surveyed the most out of all Oak/Plum Lakes routes for a total of 4 times. Route 2 was surveyed twice. Finally, route 4 was surveyed 3 times. One interesting observation was the one Semipalmated Plover individual.

A huge thank you to Glennis Lewis, Ward Christianson, Marlene Christianson, and Gillian Richards for surveying these routes!

Shoal Lakes

2022 Fall Shoal Lakes Shorebird Counts
SpeciesTotal # of Individuals Proportion of Individuals (%)
Baird’s Sandpiper33
Greater Yellowlegs910
Lesser Yellowlegs1719
Marbled Godwit11
Peep sp./ Shorebird sp.78
Semipalmated Sandpiper1416
Spotted Sandpiper67
Wilson’s Snipe2224
Total # of Species10
Data based on 7 surveys.

The North, East, West Shoal Lakes IBA was surveyed a total of 15 times over the fall season. Route 1 and the campground (stationary route) were each surveyed 3 times. Routes 2 and 3 were surveyed twice. Route 4 was surveyed 5 times. Shoal Lakes had the lowest number of observed shorebirds compared to the other Manitoba ISS sites.

An enormous thank you to Bonnie Chartier, Tami Reynolds, Cam Nikkel and Tim Poole for surveying these routes!

Oak Hammock Marsh

2022 Fall OHM Shorebird Counts
SpeciesTotal # of Individuals Proportion of Individuals (%)
Black-Bellied Plover10
Greater Yellowlegs8738
Least Sandpiper10
Lesser Yellowlegs42
Pectoral Sandpiper10
Peep sp./Shorebird sp.63
Semipalmated Sandpiper10
Solitary Sandpiper42
Spotted Sandpiper10
Wilson’s Snipe4118
Total # of Species11
Data based on 10 surveys.

Over the fall season, Oak Hammock Marsh was surveyed a total of 14 times. Route 3 was surveyed once due to the high-water levels and road conditions from the spring. Route 1 was surveyed 6 times. Route 2 was surveyed 7 times. The most numerous species found here were Greater Yellowlegs and Killdeer.

A huge thank you to Bonnie Chartier, Tami Reynolds, Mike Karakas, Peter Douglas, and Tim Poole for surveying Oak Hammock Marsh!

Round Up

As mentioned in the summaries above, the Manitoba 2022 International Shorebird Surveys were affected by weather conditions. High water levels and road blockages affected accessibility as well as the quality of habitat for the shorebirds. Compared to 2021, the fall 2022 monitoring data shows a decrease in observed individuals at Whitewater Lake.

Once again, a big thank you to all our volunteers this year! This important data could not be gathered without your help.  

If you are interested in volunteering for our 2023 International Shorebird Surveys, we are always looking for volunteers! Email iba@naturemanitoba.ca for more information.

-Aynsley Woods