Delta Marsh IBA Blitz Results Roundup

On Saturday August 17th volunteers from the Manitoba IBA Program descended on Delta Marsh IBA for a shorebird blitz. The IBA split into 5 main sections, and groups covered as much of the area as possible during a morning of birding.

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In Group A we had Cal and Gord. They covered the west side of the diversion all the way to Lynch’s Point. The most significant count of birds for this group was of 5000 Franklin’s Gulls heading north early in the morning. They had good numbers of Mallard, an estimated 800 primarily along the lakeshore off of Cram and Deep Creeks. The total of 17 species of shorebird was impressive, including 320 Least Sandpiper, 239 Semipalmated Sandpiper and 134 Lesser Yellowlegs. A Prairie Falcon was a significant bonus.

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Garry, Deanna and Rudolf took on Group B, an area from the east of the diversion to Delta Beach. They also had a large number of Franklin’s Gulls heading north, 3550 in total. 146 Forster’s Tern were also accounted for. 40 Western Grebes seemed low, something that they and other groups commented on afterwards. There were 11 species of shorebird in total including 170 Least Sandpiper.

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Semipalmated Sandpiper in a mixed flock. Copyright Christian Artuso

Group C consisted of Katharine, Pat, Wally and Chris. They covered an area from Delta Beach to St Ambroise. They counted an impressive 329 Purple Martins during their travels in this area and 24 Red-tailed Hawks. They found 8 species of shorebird. The total number of birds in this area was 1606.

Group D was split in two. On the road we had Jo, Betsy and Rob. Early morning they counted 600 Double-crested Cormorants from St Ambroise Beach Provincial Park. They also came across an adult and 14 full grown Gray Partridge chicks and 100 Bank Swallows, in the beach area. Later on in the morning they came across another 250 Double-crested Cormorant and 100 American White Pelican around 83 and 84N and a further 100 American White Pelican around St Marks. There was also a Krider’s red-tailed Hawk and a family of Red-headed Woodpecker along Highway 430.

The other part of this group was our beach team, heading from St Ambroise through to Clandeboye Bay. Gull numbers were pretty good in this area, 280 Franklin’s and 480 Ring-bills counted. There were 13 species of shorebird, the most significant numbers were of Semipalmated Sandpiper (385) and Least (82). Walking along the beach ridge, one might expect some good numbers of migrating warblers. On this occasion however, there was only a single Northern Waterthrush to join the Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats. They headed back along the beach and across to the end of PR430. At this point they counted 2095 Double-crested Cormorant, had 11 species of shorebird and an impressive number of gulls.

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Shorebirds landing on mudflats. Copyright Christian Artuso

After lunch this group headed to the PR227 dump locating 3 California Gull among the 700 Ring-bills and 100 Herring Gulls.

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Finally, Tim and Amanda walked a large portion of Twin Lake Beach. They only detected 8 species of shorebird including 42 Least Sandpiper, although frustratingly, they had to turn back with larger flocks taking flight on the horizon. There were 177 Bonaparte’s Gull in this area, by far the largest total of this species all day.

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Counting shorebirds often looked like this image at Twin Lakes Beach. Copyright Christian Artuso.


In total we detected 123 species and counted 26,352 individuals. The most abundant species were Canada Goose (1,071), Mallard (1,412), Franklin’s Gull (9,409), Ring-billed Gull (2,153) and Double-crested Cormorant (3,683). The total number of Purple Martin seems notable (498).

19 species of shorebird were recorded during the morning. The most abundant species was Least Sandpiper (764) followed by Semipalmated Sandpiper (668), Lesser Yellowlegs (221) and Greater Yellowlegs (129).

Here are the totals from the morning. Thank you to all our volunteers for an enjoyable morning in a great IBA.

Species Name Species Count Sample Size
Canada Goose 1,071 9
Wood Duck 28 8
Blue-winged Teal 110 8
Northern Shoveler 48 4
Gadwall 62 4
American Wigeon 37 2
Mallard 1,412 12
Green-winged Teal 59 4
Canvasback 6 2
Redhead 5 2
Bufflehead 4 1
Common Goldeneye 1 1
Hooded Merganser 19 5
Common Merganser 2 1
Ruddy Duck 3 1
duck sp. 72 3
Gray Partridge 15 1
Pied-billed Grebe 1 1
Western Grebe 53 6
Rock Pigeon 8 3
Mourning Dove 89 16
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 17 8
American Coot 2 1
Sandhill Crane 10 1
American Avocet 12 1
Semipalmated Plover 120 4
Killdeer 88 8
Marbled Godwit 75 6
Stilt Sandpiper 55 2
Sanderling 11 3
Baird’s Sandpiper 31 5
Least Sandpiper 764 10
White-rumped Sandpiper 19 2
Pectoral Sandpiper 55 5
Semipalmated Sandpiper 668 8
peep sp. 30 1
Short-billed Dowitcher 3 1
Wilson’s Snipe 2 2
Red-necked Phalarope 49 1
Spotted Sandpiper 22 6
Solitary Sandpiper 3 2
Greater Yellowlegs 129 12
Willet 1 1
Lesser Yellowlegs 271 10
shorebird sp. 65 2
Bonaparte’s Gull 185 4
Franklin’s Gull 9,409 10
Ring-billed Gull 2,153 15
California Gull 3 1
Herring Gull 173 8
Caspian Tern 55 6
Black Tern 1 1
Common Tern 103 4
Forster’s Tern 218 9
Double-crested Cormorant 3,683 12
American White Pelican 353 10
American Bittern 4 3
Great Blue Heron 11 5
Great Egret 9 2
Turkey Vulture 13 3
Northern Harrier 37 17
Bald Eagle 32 14
Swainson’s Hawk 5 3
Red-tailed Hawk 62 17
Belted Kingfisher 2 2
Red-headed Woodpecker 3 1
Downy Woodpecker 2 2
Hairy Woodpecker 2 1
Northern Flicker 5 4
American Kestrel 9 6
Merlin 13 10
Peregrine Falcon 1 1
Prairie Falcon 1 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 7 4
Least Flycatcher 13 4
Eastern Phoebe 3 3
Western Kingbird 6 3
Eastern Kingbird 144 21
Warbling Vireo 3 2
Red-eyed Vireo 5 4
Blue Jay 1 1
American Crow 2 1
Common Raven 60 10
Purple Martin 498 7
Tree Swallow 283 10
Bank Swallow 116 5
Barn Swallow 360 19
Cliff Swallow 2 1
House Wren 8 5
Sedge Wren 3 2
Marsh Wren 12 3
European Starling 131 6
Gray Catbird 14 8
Eastern Bluebird 1 1
American Robin 58 11
Cedar Waxwing 45 6
House Sparrow 12 1
Pine Siskin 3 2
American Goldfinch 23 9
Chipping Sparrow 12 5
Clay-colored Sparrow 20 6
White-throated Sparrow 1 1
Savannah Sparrow 41 5
Song Sparrow 81 12
Swamp Sparrow 22 3
Yellow-headed Blackbird 184 7
Bobolink 2 1
Western Meadowlark 14 9
Orchard Oriole 2 1
Baltimore Oriole 15 5
Red-winged Blackbird 942 12
Brown-headed Cowbird 1 1
Brewer’s Blackbird 577 8
Common Grackle 286 9
blackbird sp. 5 1
Northern Waterthrush 3 3
Black-and-white Warbler 2 1
Common Yellowthroat 34 5
American Redstart 2 2
Cape May Warbler 1 1
Magnolia Warbler 2 1
Yellow Warbler 131 12
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 5 4

Finally, this was Christian’s final IBA event before moving to his new home in Gatineau. He will be sorely missed, although he remains involved in the program even now from his new lofty position with the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Thank you once more for all your many contributions to this program in Manitoba.

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A familiar image, Christian taking photos of birds at the dump. Thanks Betsy Thorsteinson for capturing this!

New Job Opportunity – Manitoba IBA Program and Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative Coordinator

UPDATE!

We are extending the deadline for the recruitment process for the Manitoba IBA Program and Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative Coordinator.

The new deadline will be midnight on Monday September 16th 2019.


The Manitoba Important Bird Area (IBA) Caretaker Program and Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative (MCSI) are seeking a full-time coordinator to run these programs in Manitoba, with the assistance of two volunteer steering committees. We envisage the successful candidate will work 3 days/week on the IBA Program and 2 days/week on the MCSI.  The successful candidate will be responsible for delivering multiple grant programs, including the Bird Studies Canada “Enhancing Avian Species At Risk Applicability in Conservation Delivery” in southwestern Manitoba and the Habitat Stewardship Program grant “Working with the Urban Development Sector in Manitoba to Provide Stewardship for the Chimney Swift”.

Job Description

The position is currently funded fully up to March 31st 2020, and part-time from April 1st 2020, with actual days worked being flexible depending on the candidate’s availability and work requirements. The exact start date is negotiable, preferably by October 2019. It is envisioned that the successful candidate will work from Nature Manitoba’s Winnipeg office; however, other locations may be acceptable to suit the successful candidate’s preference. Travel to various Manitoba locations, especially southwestern Manitoba, will be involved. The position will require field work and the successful candidate may need to stay overnight in rural Manitoba.

We seek a dynamic individual who can engage a variety of audiences and rally support for the projects from different sectors. The successful candidate will:

  • work independently, but with input from both committees, to continue the development and promotion of province-wide programs,
  • write funding proposals and to seek opportunities to expand the programs
  • be skilled at giving presentations, recruiting volunteers, and organizing events
  • organize volunteer events, including habitat stewardship work parties and volunteer monitoring blitzes
  • engage with diverse community groups to deliver stewardship and monitoring, including beef producers, landowners, First Nations, birders and building owners
  • deliver monitoring for various groups of birds including shorebirds, grassland birds and aerial insectivores
  • train and coordinate volunteers in avian monitoring techniques
  • be able to use the IBA monitoring protocol (eBird) and technical tools and to explain their usage to volunteers
  • be able to manage a database of Chimney Swift records and coordinate contributions to national monitoring programs
  • create and manage partnerships with governmental and non-governmental organisations
  • maintain the website http://importantbirdareasmb.ca, social media accounts and provide content to the volunteer webmaster for the MCSI website
  • manage two separate budgets, subcontracts and summer staff
  • represent the programs at meetings or conferences as required
  • coordinate the two programs and be accountable to two Steering Committees as required

Compensation: $22.50/hr starting salary with the possibility of increased hours and pay dependent on performance review.

Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated oral and written communications skills,
  • Demonstrated knowledge of natural history and conservation (although a degree in biological or ecological sciences is not required, this program will benefit from someone who can speak with confidence and authority on the conservation issues pertinent to IBAs and Chimney Swifts).
  • Familiarity with Manitoba’s avifauna, experience in conservation programming, experience in working with community organizations and/or NGOs, fundraising experience, and bilingualism, are strong assets.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate and negotiate with different groups of people to deliver and negotiate stewardship for Species at Risk
  • Demonstrated avian monitoring skills
  • Basic computer familiarity, especially with Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook). Familiarity with Adobe or other photo-editing software an asset.
  • Valid driver’s license (own vehicle or ability to rent a vehicle preferred)

Apply To:

Please send (electronically in .doc, .rtf, or .pdf format) a résumé and cover letter with the names of three referees to Paula Grieef at  p_grieef@ducks.ca.

Deadline: Sept 16, 2019, midnight Central time.

Click here to download pdf of job description

August IBA Contest and Result from July

August IBA Contest

August is a great month for shorebirds in Manitoba’s IBAs. 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.

July’s contest was won by Jo Swartz, Betsy Thorsteinson, Kelsey Bell and Katherine Schulz for this checklist from our Shoal Lakes IBA Blitz – https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S58423556.

Pulling Weeds for Plovers – a Report from our First Work Party of 2019

On Saturday July 20th, a group of intrepid volunteers traveled to Riverton Sandy Bar to pull weeds. Thank you to Joanne, Lynnea, Kelsey and Bonnie for taking care of the days event. Kelsey Bell gives us a rundown of the mornings fun.

Often when you think of habitat loss, you think of trees being cut down for paper, areas being cleared for development, or land conversion for agriculture. So, it might be strange to think that the removal of vegetation can actually create habitat for a species of bird, the Piping Plover.

Piping Plovers nest on wide, sandy beaches with little vegetation. In Manitoba, areas such as this are under threat due to above average water levels or encroachment of weeds. Historically, Piping Plovers used the sand bar between the west shore of Lake Winnipeg and Hecla Islands (which together make up the Riverton Sandy Bar IBA) as nesting habitat. However, the last confirmed sighting was in 2000. Unfortunately, this likley due to the presence of white-sweet clover, an invasive weed that has taken over the sand bar.

The early morning trek out to the sand bar was a little chillier than expected, but upon arrival and after a quick survey of the area, 23 eager volunteers set to work. Volunteers from Winnipeg, Gimli and surrounding areas came for the morning, as well as a team from the East Interlake Conservation District and Manitoba Sustainable Development. With so many hands on deck, we quickly made headway.

Turns out the cooler weather was a blessing, because weed pulling is hard work. Everyone grabbed a bag and got to work. In no time at all, we had a pile of sweet clover filled bags. First, we started with some maintenance in the areas that had been worked on in previous years. It was great to hear all the positive comments from volunteers that had been involved for multiple years. Many commented on how great it looks since the weed pulls began and how much of a difference it has made for the habitat.

Once the maintenance was done, we dug into the bigger weed clearing. Everyone worked together, old friends and new acquaintances, with plenty of laughs and good conversations to go around; it hardly felt like work. As the final bags were being filled our day was cut just a little short by a sudden rain system moving through. We collected our bags, packed up our things and hiked back to our vehicles.

You’ve heard of “pack out what you pack in” or “leave it as you found it”, but with the help of so many hard working hands, I think we left it better than we found it. And we most certainly packed out more than what we packed in.

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The pile of weeds pulled by IBA volunteers, copyright Kelsey Bell.

Thank you to everyone who came out! If you would like to help out, or you missed the last one, don’t worry! We have another fun filled day of weed pulling for plovers on Friday, August 16th. You can find information about the day here.

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The volunteers after a hard days work, copyright Joanne Smith.

And of course, below is the list of birds observed that day:

Species Count
Killdeer 1
Lesser Yellowlegs 17
Franklin’s Gull 280
Ring-billed Gull 71
Herring Gull 1
Common Tern 3
American White Pelican 6
Osprey 1
Bald Eagle 2
Merlin 1
Least Flycatcher 7
Eastern Kingbird 2
American Crow 1
Barn Swallow 3
Marsh Wren 13
Song Sparrow 9
Swamp Sparrow 4
Red-winged Blackbird 32
Common Yellowthroat 6
Yellow Warbler 7

Summary update of Upcoming Events and News

Given we are now at the last day in July, I thought it would be a good time to send an update on the program, including some events coming up in August and a few other matters coming forward: Firstly, below is a list of events, with a link to more information on our website on the event.

Sunday August 11th

Shorebird Workshop, Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre – there are 13 spots remaining on this as of yesterday lunchtime, so please get in quick before we fill up.

Shorebirds Workshop at OHMIC 11th August 2019 WRSA

Friday August 16th

Weed pull at Riverton Sandy Bar IBA

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Saturday August 17th

Shorebird Blitz at Delta Marsh IBA

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Sunday August 25th

Shorebird blitz at Whitewater Lake IBA

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Earlier in July we had our latest blitz, a Red-headed Woodpecker search at the North, West and East Shoal Lakes IBA. You can read Kelsey Bells account at https://importantbirdareasmb.ca/2019/07/19/shoal-lakes-area-iba-red-headed-woodpecker-blitz/.

The final results are also available, including a map of the location of each pair at https://importantbirdareasmb.ca/2019/07/24/the-final-results-from-the-red-headed-woodpecker-blitz-at-shoal-lakes/.

We also had a small group from the Westman Naturalists check for Red-headed Woodpeckers at the Oak Lake and Plum Lakes IBA.

Finally, Christian Artuso will be leaving Bird Studies Canada today, and Manitoba by the end of next month. Christian has been a leading light in Manitoba bird conservation and monitoring programs for over a decade and will be sorely missed. We have a short piece on our website, and there is also a tribute on the Nature Manitoba website.

Christian Artuso – thank you!

Since 2012, Christian Artuso has served as the Chair of the Manitoba Important Bird Areas Program Steering Committee. We were recently sad to hear that Christian has accepted as post with the Canadian Wildlife Service in Ottawa. He will be leaving Bird Studies Canada at the end of this month and starting his new role in August, departing for Ottawa by the end of that month.

We will miss Christian’s incredible dedication to bird conservation in Manitoba, his enthusiasm, his warmth, quirky sense of humour and of course, his incredible birding skills which is always only so happy to pass on to everyone.

Without Christian’s support, we would have no IBA Program in Manitoba. Along with Carol Scott and Paula Grieef, it was Christian who worked to establish the program. For the three coordinators, it was Christian who would be our go-to person for advice, a sounding board, and a friend.

Christian is a well known figure in the Manitoba birding world. As well as his IBA involvement, he has been a long-standing committee member for the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative. He also served on various other committees, advising Masters and PhD students, the management of community pastures, the COSEWIC subcommittee for birds, and so much more. Of course Christian’s lasting legacy will be the superb manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas.

For these reasons Christian will be very much missed by the entire Manitoba birding community.

Thank you Christian for everything you have done for bird conservation in our province!

Sandy Bar Weed Pull-October 2018-Lynnea A Parker-1120814