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.
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!
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
|Great Blue Heron||3|
|Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)||17|