July 20th Riverton Weed Pull – Final Details

Come join the Manitoba Important Bird Area Program for our fall weed pull at the Riverton Sandy Bar IBA on Saturday July 20th.

We will be pulling weeds to make space for the rare and elusive Piping Plover, a species once common in this IBA, but not seen for a number of years. The encroaching vegetation has significantly reduced habitat for this and other breeding species, and the IBA Program and our caretaker, Joanne Smith, are determined to do something to rectify this situation.

Meeting: We will meet at 7:45 in the parking lot for coffee, juice and maybe a few baked goodies, and at 8:15am we will head up to our weeding spot near the tip of the sandbar. Click here for the location of the Riverton Sandy Bar Parking lot.

Things to bring: Please bring:

– Weather appropriate clothing and footwear

– Gardening gloves if you have them

– Binoculars

– Water

– a bagged lunch

– sunscreen

– a hat

– rain jacket if required

We will stay out until midday.

More info here

Please note that there is no outhouse at this parking lot.  Closest bathrooms will be in the town of Riverton.

If you are interested in coming, please email Lynnea at assistant.manitobaiba@gmail.com

Douglas Marsh Evening Bird Survey

We recently had an evening bird survey at Douglas Marsh, hosted by Nature Conservancy Canada and led by Manitoba IBA Program Coordinator, Tim Poole. Kelsey Bell, our Summer Assistant, gives her take on the proceedings.

On Friday, July 6th, 2019 Nature Conservancy Canada hosted an event out at the Douglas Marsh IBA, asking Manitoba IBA Program to lead a bird survey. Douglas Marsh IBA is a well-known wetland located East of Brandon, MB. The area is famous for hosting significant numbers of the elusive Yellow Rail, one of the nations vulnerably listed bird species. People from all over come to Douglas, MB, in the hopes of hearing this secretive little bird. Friday night was no different, the event attracted  upwards of 30 people. It was great to see so many people attending the event for just a chance to hear this secretive little bird. Visitors from the surrounding Brandon area, Portage La Prairie, Winnipeg and even St-Jean-Baptiste arrived at 8:30pm for a short presentation from Steven Anderson of NCC Manitoba, as well as our very own Tim Poole.

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A view over NCC’s Douglas Marsh property. Copyright Tim Poole

Following the presentation, we headed out to the NCC Douglas Marsh property to survey the birds. As soon as we entered the property a Brewer’s Blackbird dropped into the grass with food in her mouth. A short distance later, a pair of Bobolinks were seen, and the female quickly disappeared into the grasses. Great to see such strong nesting indicators from both species, especially the Bobolinks which are listed as a Species at Risk in Canada.

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Male Bobolink calling on the property. Copyright Tim Poole

Sedge wrens scolded us most of the evening with their distinct, angry sounding chatter. Wilson’s snipe graced us with their winnowing display near the road, on the edge of the property, and as the sun set lower on the horizon, we began to detect the soft songs of the LeConte’s Sparrow and Nelson’s Sparrow in the distance; a sure sign there would be Yellow Rail in the area.

As the final glimpse of dusk disappeared beyond the horizon, we headed to the road for our chance at hearing the bird we came for, the Yellow Rail. Although it was a quiet evening and activity felt low, our patience paid off. At approximately 11:15pm we heard the first Yellow Rails of the evening. As we listened to the subtle and distant call of the Yellow Rail, like two stones being clicked together, we were also charmed by the call of the Sora and Virginia Rail, from the opposite side of the road.

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A smudgy dusk over the marsh. Copyright Tim Poole

Much like many evening surveys, we relied mostly on aural detection of most of the species recorded. By the end of the evening a total of 23 species were detected in the area, including Western Meadowlarks, Savannah Sparrows, Marsh Wren and of course, Yellow Rail.

Thank you to everyone who made the trip out, it was great to see so many people come out to Douglas Marsh and assist with the survey. It was pleasant evening with fantastic weather. All-in-all, it was a great success!

Here is the evenings eBird checklist – https://ebird.org/canada/view/checklist/S58078655.

Riverton Sandy Bar Weed Pull, July 20th

We are planning our first weed pull in 2019 at the Riverton Sandy Bar IBA. This is the first time to try a Saturday event rather than a weekday.

The purpose of this Weed Pull is to once again clear an area of Sandy Bar to make the habitat more attractive to Piping Plover. This shorebird species last nested at Sandy Bar in 2004. With low lake levels and a large open sandy area we hope that the Piping Plover may once again make an appearance at Sandy Bar.

This is always a popular event. We are planning an earlier weed pull in 2019 following advice from botanists that we should pull the invasive clover before the fall when the plants turn to seed.

It would be great to have you join us on the 20th. Please feel free to forward this to others who may be interested in pulling weeds, meeting others and learning about the migrating birds at Sandy Bar.

Please email iba@naturemanitoba.ca to express an interest in registering.

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July IBA Blitz – Red-headed Woodpeckers

Our next blitz will be looking for Red-headed Woodpeckers at the North, West and East Shoal Lakes. We found several pairs during a blitz in this area in August 2019 (see here). We will also look for other birds obviously, but our focus will be on this endangered species.

Please email iba@naturemanitoba.ca to express an interest in registering.

The Brandon Birders are also planning a search for Red-headed Woodpeckers, possibly on the same day at the Oak Lake and Plum Lakes IBA. Please email brandonbirders@gmail.com  to express an interest.

Finally, if you are interested in looking for Red-headed Woodpeckers in our other IBAs, we would be interested in hearing from you, especially from anyone living in or near the Kinosota-Leifur IBA.

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July IBA eBird Contest

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Start looking for those Red-headed Woodpeckers in July. 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. IBAs you might expect to find this species includes:

Re-scheduled Event with NCC at Douglas Marsh, July 5th

Douglas Marsh Bird Poster - Rescheduled 2-1

Following some very poor weather in June, NCC had to suspend this event. We are rearranging it for July 5th. Please come along, hear about the wonders of Douglas Marsh, the fascinating birds, and hopefully get to hear and see  some of these fascinating species, including Nelson’s Sparrow, Virginia Rail and the elusive Yellow Rail. NCC own property on the marsh and would love to share its secrets with you

Please signup beforehand by emailing Steven at manitoba@conservationvolunteers.ca.