A Day of Champions at the Riverton Sandy Bar IBA

Tim Poole gives an overview of the second weed pull at Sandy Bar in 2017

Absolutely amazing turnout again – that was my first reaction as I drove along the track towards the parking lot at Sandy Bar on Friday September 29th. There were vehicles parked up on both sides of the track as the parking lot overflowed. I was a few minutes late having been delayed in Gimli collecting some snacks and coffee – and with Ward Christianson, showing young Josiah Van Egmond his lifer Ross’s Goose near the Icelandic Museum. An early success for the morning.

Following out first previous weed pull there has been a multitude of shorebird sightings on Sandy Bar. Maybe the work is already beginning to bear fruit?


American Golden Plovers on the waters edge. This is one of a number of shorebird species which have been using Sandy Bar in the month and a half since the previous weed pull. Copyright Joanne Smith

Joanne gave a briefing in the parking lot -while distributing her excellent array of baking. Anyone who knows Joanne will know that she has a wicked sense of humour. On this occasion she added in

‘I will now pass across to Tim for some more sophisticated words’.

Eek! I stumbled through a few garbled, unsophisticated sentences and then sending everyone on their way to the bar. Thanks Joanne!

We had around 32 volunteers join us this time, not bad for a morning in late September. Not only did we have some IBA regulars and Nature Manitoba stalwarts, to representatives of the East Interlake Conservation District and a mass of Riverton locals.


Team photo taken during the weed pull. Copyright Joanne Smith

Reaching the weed pulling area took varying amounts of time depending on peoples personal interests. What this means is that in general the birders took a lot longer than everyone else!


Customary shot of a stream of people making their way to the end of Sandy Bar. Copyright Joanne Smith

Our first task was to show everyone the primary target species, the invasive white sweet clover. This provided an opportunity to describe the ongoing conservation situation with Sandy Bar and the need to continue to attack the weeds on the bar to create more habitat for breeding and migrating birds. While pulling conversation inevitably turned to how we could make things easier for ourselves. Suggestions included using round-up (not on a Special Conservation Area out in the lake), a propane tank with a flame thrower attached (could be fun but there may be some possible issues with setting fire to an entire sandbar) and using goats. The favourite among pretty much all present was using a goat with a flame thrower fitted to its back. Back on Planet Earth, it was explained to people that due to various environmental, health and safety issues, the only realistic way to remove the weeds was good old fashioned people power.


Goat, flamethrower or hand pulling? Volunteers get ready to vote. Copyright Tim Poole

Joanne had also set up a visit from the local Riverton High School students led by teacher Don Bodnarus. Midway through the morning she met the first group off the bus at the parking lot and took them on a short walk, explaining to everyone about the importance of Sandy Bar and the weed pull. In total 25 students and 3 adults came from the school and each picked at least a few weeds as time was short. Maybe next year we can have them out for a longer period of time!


Students making their way onto Sandy Bar. Copyright Joanne Smith

As the title suggests though, this piece is really about a few conservation champions who helped to make this day possible. Firstly all the volunteers who turned out on both weed pulls. Thank you everyone.


Busy finding that final weed…..another one of our terrific volunteers. Copyright Tim Poole

Second, to Louise Buelow-Smith and Eric Smith. Earlier in the week they visited Rona and Gimli and persuaded the manager to part with 10 pairs of workers gloves and 50 yard waste bags. Thank you both and thank you Rona in Gimli!

Third, to local resident Thor Johannson. Thor has been absolutely incredible recruiting local volunteer help leading to huge support in both 2017 workparties. He also contacted other local groups including the local Friendship Centre and even a local Don Balinski to potentially remove the bags by boat or ATV. Thanks Thor!

Finally, to Joanne Smith, Caretaker for Riverton Sandy Bar, who is doing an amazing job organising these weed pulls and raising awareness of the area across the local community. Joanne is a tremendous asset to the Manitoba IBA Program!


In total over 50 bags were filled. Joanne filled this many herself. Copyright Tim Poole

Thank you everyone!


The only photo I could find where Bonnie Chartier is not birdwatching! Copyright Tim Poole

As ever, we finish with a bird list. Joanne shared the following on eBird:

Snow Goose 67
Canada Goose 273
Mallard 10
White-winged Scoter 7
Double-crested Cormorant 6
Great Blue Heron 1
Northern Harrier 2
Bald Eagle 1
Black-bellied Plover 10
American Golden-Plover 2
Ruddy Turnstone 3
Sanderling 64
Dunlin 2
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Bonaparte’s Gull 6
Ring-billed Gull 137
Herring Gull 2
Great Horned Owl 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Hairy Woodpecker 2
Merlin 1
Common Raven 20
Horned Lark 6
Black-capped Chickadee 2
American Pipit 9
Lapland Longspur 65
Snow Bunting 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
Dark-eyed Junco 2
Swamp Sparrow 4
Rusty Blackbird 19
American Goldfinch 3

Another of the shorebirds on Sandy Bar. This time a Ruddy Turnstone. Copyright Joanne Smith

A Saturday Visit to Langruth Harvest Festival and the Langruth-RM of Lakeview IBA

Last Saturday, September 23rd, we were invited to participate in the Langruth Harvest Festival. Langruth is located on the west side of Lake Manitoba, strategically positioned between 3 IBAs, Langruth-RM of Lakeview (or Big Grass Marsh), Sandy Bay Marsh and Kinosota-Leifur.

An early arrival gave ample opportunity to drive PR265 which cuts through the middle of the IBA. Among the highlights was a late Red-headed Woodpecker and several thousand Snow Geese.


A few larger flocks of Snow Goose were encountered in the IBA on Saturday morning. Copyright Tim Poole


White and blue morph Snow Geese were present at the weekend. Copyright Tim Poole


The town greeter. Copyright Tim Poole

Driving into Langruth itself is always a birdy experience. The marsh and the local IBA are a significant part of this community which considers itself the ‘birding capital of Manitoba’. Greeting visitors driving in on the highway to the south is a giant Great Blue Heron.

Further exploration reveals that the heron is not the only feature of the IBA present in the town. Driving back in from the west you come across a rock. But not just any old rock. This one has a plaque on the front with a tribute to the marsh. Reading it (reproduced below) we find that Big Grass Marsh was Ducks Unlimited’s first ever wetland conservation project back in 1938. The fact that the marsh is now under the largest conservation agreement in conservation history thanks to donations of land from the RM’s of Westbourne and Lakeview (and negotiated by our partners at MHHC) merely adds to the historical and biological significance of this IBA. On the side of the memorial stone is a map of the marsh showing the original control structure and the main road access.

All photos of the Big Grass Marsh Memorial Stone copyright Tim Poole.

By now it was time to do some work and off to the Langruth rink for the fair. A steady stream of people would come to our tables. We did a special pine cone bird feeder craft to provide an opportunity to speak with local children about why birds migrate and the need for a steady supply of food in winter for those birds which do not migrate. On the other side we provide information and resources for adults on the local IBAs, not just Big Grass Marsh but Sandy Bay Marshes and Kinosota-Leifur as well. We also attempted a new approach to getting more local people involved in monitoring the IBAs by asking people to send us sightings of particular species: Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese for Big Grass Marsh; Western Grebe for Sandy Bay Marshes and; Red-headed Woodpecker for Kinosota-Leifur. This is already bearing fruit with Paul reporting 125 Sandhill Cranes just last night. Thanks Paul!


Our stall. Copyright Tim Poole

Thank you to the Langruth Harvest Fair for the invitation, especially Michelle Teichroeb who has been very helpful in providing information before and during the festival and even took a couple of IBA signs away to be put up locally.

Finally, here is the short bird list from the Langruth-RM of Lakeview IBA

Snow Goose 2539
Ross’s Goose 10
Canada Goose 44
Northern Shoveler 2
Mallard 5
Northern Pintail 19
Green-winged Teal 7
Great Blue Heron 3
Northern Harrier 2
Red-tailed Hawk 3
Greater Yellowlegs 2
Lesser Yellowlegs 4
Mourning Dove 1
Red-headed Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 17
Common Raven 2
Marsh Wren 2
European Starling 50
Western Meadowlark 1
Common Grackle 150
Pine Siskin 20

Quick Report From Weekend Bird Walk at Delta Marsh

Thanks to the folk at the Fort La Reine Museum we had a great morning out at Delta Marsh on Saturday. We had 5 people join us including the former Delta Marsh Manager, Dr Bob Jones, a huge reservoir of knowledge of the history and biology of this area.


Birding on Delta Beach. Photo copyright Tim Poole

We started off checking for shorebirds at a creek west of the diversion, the site of several thousand migrating shorebirds last August. On this occasion we were limited to a few dozen Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs and large numbers of ducks.

Onwards we headed towards Delta Beach, checking around the diversion but seeing very little of note from the road. Along the road north towards the beach John Hays spotted some movement and eventually we had brief glimpses of 3 Black-bellied Plover flying away. At the Delta Marsh welcome sign there were good numbers of Western Grebe, over 100 in total, and several species of duck. We moved on towards the beach. Following reports of water surges raising the lake levels by up to 5m earlier in the week, it was apparent that there was limited beach available for birds. The advantage of this however was that the shorebirds and miscellaneous gulls were restricted to fingers of beach close to the shore. A mixed flock of Semipalmated Plover (30), Sanderling (12) and Least Sandpiper (2) were certainly the highlight. Behind on the ridge Eastern Phoebe, Yellow-rumped Warbler and Palm Warbler foraged on the dead wood for bugs and swallows battled strong winds seeking the final tasty morsels available before they embark on their long migration.


Delta Beach. Copyright Tim Poole

Finally we headed to the Delta Waterfowl Trail on the south of the beach ridge. Here again were large numbers of ducks, mainly Mallards, Northern Pintail, American Widgeon and Blue-winged Teal. Bob Jones shared some of the history of the marsh and the different groups involved. The final highlight were flocks of Sandhill Cranes flying south, their wonderful sights and sounds, a clear sign that fall is well and truly upon us.

All Sandhill Crane images copyright Tim Poole

Thanks to the small but knowledgeable group who joined us on Saturday and to Fort La Reine Museum. Delta Marsh is a great area to explore with many wonderful birds to find. We will return here again in 2018!

Sandy Bar Weed Pull #2 Sept. 29th, 2017

On Friday September 29th we are planning another weed pull at Important Bird and Biodiversity Area MB091 Riverton Sandy Bar.

We had an excellent turnout on Aug. 17th with 36 volunteers filling 66 bags of invasive sweet clover, burdock and willow. Because the sweet clover requires regular removal we plan to meet at 9:00 am on September the 29th to  pull more bags of the stuff. Looking far into the future, we also hope to do another pull in late April or early May 2018.

We are looking forward to having Don Bodnarus’s high school class from Riverton Collegiate join us on the 29th as well. It’ll be great to get youth from the community involved.

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.

We’ll also be doing a bit of Birding  and recording the species we see and hear while we’re pulling weeds. It would be ideal if we could pull weeds for 2-3 hours and then walk to the end of the sand bar with binos and scopes to show birders and nonbirders some of the bird species that stop over at Sandy Bar as they continue their fall migration south to areas as far away South America. On September 30th 2016 we saw such species as Rusty Blackbird, Smith Longspur, Lapland Longspur, American Pipit, Horned Lark and American Golden Plover.

There is also a possibility that we may be able to show the volunteers how to enter our bird sightings into eBird under the IBA Protocol.

It would be great to have you join us again on the 29th. Please feel free to forward this email to others who may be interested in pulling weeds, meeting others and learning about the fall migrating birds at Sandy Bar.

More details will be emailed out as we get closer to the date.


Joanne Smith

Sandy Bar Weed Picking Volunteers (1)

Photo copyright Dries Desender

Footnote – please email Tim Poole, iba@naturemanitoba.ca for more details

Silence of the Dowitchers

Following the early August blitz at Whitewater Lake, we decided to give it another go and see what else we might turn out in this critically important area on Sunday August 27th. Manitoba IBA Coordinator, Tim Poole gives an overview of proceedings.

For most bird species, a good look in the scope is enough for a successful identification. However the fall can leave even the best birders sometimes scratching their head. Fall warblers and vireos can be taxing for most but there are always little giveaways to help bring about a successful identification. Sharp-shinned versus Cooper’s Hawk can keep a whole group on Facebook debating for days.

Shorebirds can also be tough in fall. In most cases, there are telling features which help us to get the correct species in the end. In the case of the dowitchers though these features are often difficult to draw out as they gather in ‘large carpets’ of birds. The adult plumage in fall becomes very worn and given these shorebirds can flock in groups of several thousand, they can seem almost indistinguishable between two species, Long-billed Dowitcher and Short-billed Dowitcher.

Short-billed Dowitcher_9801_carpet.jpg

This is a typical image of dowitcher flocks experienced at Whitewater Lake. Large carpets of birds feeding or roosting together can be notoriously hard to identify. Copyright Christian Artuso

Short-billed Dowitcher_9817_carpet

Zoom in on the above – and still difficult even with a scope. Copyright Christian Artuso

Now, these are two distinct species and there has been considerable work done on advancing our knowledge of the key identification differences between these two species. There is an excellent pdf and summary of a talk on exactly this matter on the Surfbird website.

Another resource made available by Christian Artuso is this table outlining the physical differences between the two species. Dowitchers comparison

Interesting enough, juvenile birds in fall tend to be easier to identify in the field than the worn-looking adults. This is due to distinctive differences in the tertials (the innermost secondary wing feathers) which are prominent on the rear of the bird when stationary on the ground. The tertials of the Short-billed juvenile has orange bars, whereas the Lon-billed juvenile has grey tertials with rusty edges.

SB vs LB DO.jpg

A comparison of tertials on juvenile Short and Long-billed Dowitchers. Photos are copyright of Christian Artuso

In reality the best way to count these large flocks is by ear. The Short-billed Dowitcher call is a lower pitched kewtutu  and the Long-billed Dowitcher is a higher pitched, sharp series of kik-kik-kik. However in a flock of 2000 dowitchers, one call from one Short-billed Dowitcher is not going to be enough to allow you to identify the entire flock. So we need some help!

shorebird flock in flight_1159.jpg

Large flock of shorebirds. Ironically if these were dowitchers they would suddenly become easier to identify than if they were standing around in a carpet. Copyright Christian Artuso

Thank goodness then for birds of prey! Fall is also the time for large numbers of raptors to visit and Sunday was no different. For example, in the northwest corner and along the south of the lake, Peregrine Falcons flushed flocks of dowitchers. It was Bald Eagles and Northern Harriers doing this duty along the northern edge of the lake. In one case, over 2000 Long-billed Dowitcher were flushed by an eagle, giving Eric, Louise and myself a single count of this species where previously it was difficult to distinguish between individuals in a carpet of birds.

Peregrine Falcon_1365_pair.jpg

Two Peregrine Falcons resting following a flyby on flocks of shorebirds at 128W. Copyright Christian Artuso

This ultimately led to a total of 2,196 Long-billed Dowitcher, 350 Short-billed Dowitcher and 3357 unidentified dowitcher species, just going to show that most flocks were just not calling enough to identify. The long-billed figure will actually trigger the 1% global concentration on the IBA tables in future – another new species for Whitewater!

As for the remainder of the blitz we had 19 volunteers out around the IBA in 5 groups. Each group was given a section to complete, recording every individual bird within this area in the allotted time.

August 28th IBA Blitz groups.jpg

Group 1 consisted of Eric Smith, Louise Buelow-Smith and myself. Our challenge was to get into some of the corners around 19N and 121W and then see if we could access some of the other road allowances. Our early Peregrine and large flock of dowitchers was a precursor of things to come. A large flock of 28 Cattle Egret was a surprise on 19N. Cattle Egret is another which has become a more recent breeding species for Manitoba and is even now spreading out towards Oak Lake, much like the White-faced Ibis. It is though still known as a Whitewater specialty.


Cattle Egert in a pasture at Whitewater Lake. Copyright Tim Poole

Another species of note in this section was the American Avocet. Three large groups were located with a count of 1,795 in total in this one section. Not bad for late August! The northeast is an interesting section, much of it, including the old WMA now inaccessible due to the high lake levels.


Tractor pumping water from right (the drainage ditch) to the left (the lake). Copyright Tim Poole

Group 2 was Lewis Cocks, Ken Simonite, Wally Jansen and Robb Nickel. They covered an area in the southeast up to the main mound. Highlights included a lifer Baird’s Sandpiper for Ken.

Baird's Sandpiper_1383_Artuso.jpg

Another High Arctic migrant, the Baird’s Sandpiper. Note the brown plumage, a point of difference with the White-rumped Sandpiper. Photo copyright Christian Artuso

They also counted 2 Snowy Egret, another specialty for Whitewater, contributing to a total of 63 species.

In the southeast, Christian Artuso, John Hays and Patricia Rosa spent much of their time on foot around 128W. This area of Whitewater seems to contain phenomenal numbers of birds including 1,000 Northern Pintail, 4,100 Mallard, 1,675 Western Grebe, 703 Double-crested Cormorant, 603 American Coot, 350 Eared Grebe and 420 Black Tern.

Semipalmated Sandpiper_1180_Least Sandpiper_Baird's Sandpiper_American Avocet (1).jpg

Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Baird’s Sandpiper and American Avocet. Copyright Christian Artuso

Shorebird totals were very impressive. 83 Baird’s Sandpiper, 187 Least Sandpiper, 830 Semipalmated Sandpiper, 325 Short-billed Dowitcher, 125 Long-billed Dowitcher and 32 American Golden Plover. There were 18 species of shorebird in total. Rarer both here and elsewhere is the Buff-breasted Sandpiper. This High Arctic species is listed as Near Threatened by IUCN and winters in the pampas of South America. In common with its open winter and breeding habitats, on migration this is a species often found in short open vegetation – the most well known spot in Manitoba currently are the sod fields north of Oak Hammock Marsh and earlier this August at Riverton Sandy Bar. Unlike other North American shorebirds, the Buff-breasted Sandpiper uses a lek system of mating where males defend small display territories. Females select a mate and then nest and raise their brood elsewhere.

The gentle looking Buff-breasted Sandpiper (third photo with Least Sandpiper). All photos copyright Christian Artuso.

In group 4 we had Dave and Pat Wally. They counted 111 Snow Geese, huge numbers of Bank Swallows (although Tree Swallow appeared more numerous overall this time). They also counted a couple of Black-bellied Plover but this area did not turn up the large numbers of shorebirds that it did in the spring – it did not in early August either. However, there are tall cattails which may be blocking the view of our volunteers in this part of the lake. American Bittern was another species encountered. Margaret and Joan from Pierson and Lyleton arrived later but still had fun birding and joined us for lunch.


Yes we can see you – American Bittern. Copyright Tim Poole

Finally Glennis Lewis, Jen and Anna Wasko monitored the northwest. 6 year old Anna moved on from counting Northern Shovellers and took to counting the numerous American Coots – 517 in total. 116 Western Grebes were counted around Sexton’s Island – adding to another huge total. Shorebirds were very thin on the ground, the ephemeral wetlands were dried out and the best places were along the lake shore which is not always accessible.


Western Grebe’s are present in huge numbers still at Whitewater. Copyright Tim Poole

We will publish a full summary of both the 6th and 27th August blitzes but here is the total for the blitz. Large totals to highlight were 5,507 Mallard, 1,846 Northern Pintail, 2,050 Western Grebe, 4,140 American Coot, 1,938 American Avocet, 892 Semipalmated Sandpiper, 2,196 Long-billed Dowitcher, 4,381 Tree Swallow, 1,423 Bank Swallow and 768 Yellow-headed Blackbird.

Snow Goose 111
Canada Goose 619
Blue-winged Teal 445
Northern Shoveler 281
Gadwall 313
American Wigeon 5
Mallard 5507
Northern Pintail 1846
Green-winged Teal 122
Canvasback 463
Redhead 112
Ring-necked Duck 30
Lesser Scaup 5
Bufflehead 2
Common Goldeneye 1
Ruddy Duck 210
duck sp. 10400
Gray Partridge 15
Pied-billed Grebe 66
Eared Grebe 391
Western Grebe 2050
Double-crested Cormorant 719
American White Pelican 540
American Bittern 6
Great Blue Heron 19
Great Egret 91
Snowy Egret 3
Cattle Egret 84
Black-crowned Night-Heron 18
White-faced Ibis 164
Turkey Vulture 5
Northern Harrier 13
Bald Eagle 23
Swainson’s Hawk 7
Red-tailed Hawk 22
Sora 26
American Coot 4140
American Avocet 1938
Black-bellied Plover 5
American Golden-Plover 32
Semipalmated Plover 46
Killdeer 66
Hudsonian Godwit 8
Marbled Godwit 1
Stilt Sandpiper 6
Sanderling 1
Baird’s Sandpiper 87
Least Sandpiper 210
White-rumped Sandpiper 10
Buff-breasted Sandpiper 3
Pectoral Sandpiper 2
Semipalmated Sandpiper 892
Short-billed Dowitcher 350
Long-billed Dowitcher 2196
Short-billed/Long-billed Dowitcher 3357
Wilson’s Snipe 32
Wilson’s Phalarope 1
Red-necked Phalarope 1
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Greater Yellowlegs 47
Willet 14
Lesser Yellowlegs 10
Bonaparte’s Gull 1
Franklin’s Gull 162
Ring-billed Gull 451
Herring Gull 3
Caspian Tern 3
Black Tern 567
Common Tern 1
Forster’s Tern 62
Rock Pigeon 69
Eurasian Collared-Dove 4
Mourning Dove 81
Northern Flicker 2
American Kestrel 1
Merlin 2
Peregrine Falcon 3
Eastern Phoebe 3
Western Kingbird 15
Eastern Kingbird 38
Black-billed Magpie 14
American Crow 3
Common Raven 9
Horned Lark 3
Tree Swallow 4381
Bank Swallow 1423
Barn Swallow 195
Sedge Wren 8
Marsh Wren 13
American Robin 2
European Starling 326
Cedar Waxwing 7
Yellow Warbler 2
Clay-colored Sparrow 6
Vesper Sparrow 16
Savannah Sparrow 49
Song Sparrow 6
Swamp Sparrow 5
sparrow sp. 14
Yellow-headed Blackbird 768
Bobolink 1
Western Meadowlark 30
Brown-headed Cowbird 30
Red-winged Blackbird 282
Brewer’s Blackbird 120
Common Grackle 15
blackbird sp. 512
American Goldfinch 13
House Sparrow 30

Grand Fair & Festival Summer Tour 2017

by Patricia Rosa & Tim Poole

Over the course of the summer, we’ve had the pleasure to attend fairs and festivals near Important Bird Areas all over Manitoba. This gave us the opportunity to promote Manitoba’s IBAs, but also to discuss some of Nature Manitoba’s other programs with local communities, including grassland bird and Chimney Swift initiatives.

These events also gave us insight into pertinent observations made in these areas, hear out concerns regarding particular issues affecting local landowners, and sometimes simply allow us to help identify birds seen in backyards or explain peculiar bird behaviours.

We would like to say a special thanks to the individuals that facilitated our participation and graciously welcomed us to join in on the fun at these events!

Our first port of call was the La Riviere Raptor Festival. Tim made his now annual trip down to the Pembina Valley to this event celebrating the wonderful raptor migration each year. The festival is organised by Evelyn Janzen and Paul Goosen and the folks at A Rocha Pembina Valley. Unfortunately the day was beset by poor weather but many still came to see a Bald Eagle being released from rehab and various talks from our very own Christian Artuso.

Kris Antonius and Mike Berg from DIY Homesteaders not only extended a complimentary market table to connect with fest-goers, but also gave Tim the opportunity to do a birding/IBA workshop for a great group of kids in the DIY Kids’ Area. Unfortunately the original intention was to take the kids on a walk around the festival grounds where Barn Swallows swooped, catbirds meewed, and warblers, well warbled, but Mother Nature was not in the mood for cooperating. Instead the kids got to see a Chimney Swift nest, play a game of guess the singer and learn about what makes birds so great. The attendees were mainly small landowners, knowledgeable and interested to hear about our programs.

Nicole Kyle from Turtle Mountain (Boissevain) Fair facilitated our participation to this event. I had a great view of the rink! As an added bonus, there were Horned Lark singing and flying around all day.


Turtle Mountain (Boissevain) Fair: Ponies, Clydesdales, and birds ©Patricia Rosa

Sabrina Dean coordinated our involvement at the Oak Lake Fair. The fair kicked off with a parade through the town. Although they had a bit of a scare the previous evening due to strong winds and weather warnings, it was a beautiful day and fair attendees were eager to chat with me about birds!


Oak Lake Fair kicks off with a parade ©Patricia Rosa

Dale McKay from Portage La Prairie Potato Festival welcomed us to join in on the festivities! I had the best seat in the house and got to connect with many bird-wise spud-thusiasts.


View from the booth at PotatoFest ©Patricia Rosa

Thanks again to all of these amazing people and we cannot wait for next year’s Grand Fair & Festival Summer Tour!