Events

There is so much to see and do in this corner of Manitoba!

Events range from casual walks through city parks, to bird watching along rivers and wetlands, to public talks by local experts.

Enjoy!

Winter 2024 Update

We have the occasional winter outing and talks are in full swing!

Pink cactus blooming

Upcoming Events

Everyone is welcome to join in on any and every event!

Please remember to dress for the weather, bring water and bug spray, and food for outings.

June

Sunday, Jun 02 2024

Native Prairie & Woodland; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join trip leaders Jackie Dixon & Gillian Richards on a walk around two rare habitats south of Rivers – a large undisturbed area of mature oak/aspen wooded Crown Land and some Native Prairie. We will find interesting birds and plants, and maybe butterflies.

No experience is needed for this event, just an interest in nature. Be aware that patience may be required as the group will stop frequently. Please bring your binoculars and camera if you have them, they are not essential but come in handy.

Trip Difficulty: This outing will involve walking up to 5km (3 miles), taking around 3 hours. The walking will be quite rough, along fence lines and across pasture. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring water & snacks/lunch. Don’t forget insect repellent as the usual ticks and mosquitoes will probably be joined by black-flies. Poison ivy might also be present, so avoid bare ankles.

Please complete and submit this short form to register for this event.

Time: 8:00 AM
Location: South of Rivers

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Wednesday, Jun 05 2024

Nature Walk - Hanbury Hill; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join us for an evening walk down and up Hanbury Hill! The trail is about 500m downhill, but that means a steep 500m walk back up to your car. If you’re up for that, it’s worth the climb, with plenty of birds hanging out in the shade and Marsh Marigold growing along the spring.

The walk will start at 7pm. Parking is available off Braecrest Dr. Wear appropriate footwear as some parts of the path are quite steep. Bring your binoculars and camera if you have them! No sign up is required for this event, though there will be a waiver to sign.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Hanbury Hill

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Sunday, Jun 09 2024

Grassland Blitz; Hosted by Manitoba IBA Program

Join the Manitoba IBA Program on June 9th for a visit to the Southwestern Manitoba Mixed-Grass Prairie IBA in search of grassland birds. We hope to find bird species at risk such as the Chestnut-collared Longspur, Sprague’s Pipit, Ferruginous Hawk, Loggerhead Shrike and more! The bird blitz will begin at 5:30am.

If you’re interested in this event, please email for more information and to sign up.

Time: 5:30 AM
Location: Southwestern Manitoba Mixed-Grass Prairie IBA

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Sunday, Jun 16 2024

East Side Exploration at Riding Mountain NP; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join trip leaders Colin Blyth & Gillian Richards in a quest to explore lesser-known trails on the East side of Riding Mountain National Park. This area is a transition between boreal and deciduous forest and is home to many interesting plants, insects and birds, hopefully including indigo bunting. Numbers are limited on this trip, so please sign-up soon by completing the form below.

No experience is needed for this event, just an interest in nature. Be aware that patience may be required as the group will stop frequently. Please bring your binoculars and camera if you have them, they are not essential but come in handy.

Trip Difficulty: This outing will involve walking between 3 and 5km on trails. These can be rough with tree roots, and may be sandy or muddy. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring water & snacks/lunch. Don’t forget insect repellent as both ticks and mosquitoes will no doubt join us.

Please complete and submit this short form to register for this event.

Time: 8:00 AM
Location: Riding Mountain National Park

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Wednesday, Jun 19 2024

Nature Walk - Souris; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

We’ll be walking through Victoria Park and looking for Chimney Swift in Souris on June 19th. There are plenty of trees with lots of birds, and maybe the occasional snake! Meet at the swimming pool by the park at 7:30pm, parking is available around here.

After the park, we’ll make our way to Crescent Ave W around 9:15 and keep an eye out for Chimney Swifts. The Chimney Swifts in Souris are not currently regularly monitored, If you’re interested in learning more about Chimney Swifts or volunteering to help them, check out the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative.

The Victoria Park walk will be around 3km long with some steep areas. Dress for the weather and bring appropriate footwear! Feel free to join us at the start for the walk, or come later for the Chimney Swifts. No sign up is required for this event, though there will be a waiver to sign.

Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Victoria Park

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Saturday, Jun 22 2024

Brandon Marsh Walk; Hosted by Birds Canada & Westman Naturalists

Join LeeAnn Latremouille from Birds Canada and the Westman Naturalists on a guided walk around the wetlands of the Riverbank Discovery Centre in Brandon, Manitoba! This walk is the field component of the MarshWatch webinar series, but all are welcome. If you want to learn more about the birds and amphibians in Prairie Canada, all the webinars can be viewed on the program page here.

Meet near the Southeast corner of the parking lot, at the head of the Native Grass Trail. We plan to walk the Wetlands Trail and check out other small wetlands as timing and conditions allow. Optional registration and more information can be found at Birds Canada.

Time: 8:00 AM
Location: Riverbank Discovery Centre

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Sunday, Jun 30 2024

Wildflowers in the Lauder Sandhills; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join us for a trip to the MHHC property at the Lauder Sandhills to check out one of the remarkable natural habitats of Western Manitoba. We will find the rare and fascinating Western Spiderwort, hopefully in flower, as well as hairy prairie clover, cacti & other interesting plants. There will also be a chance to see lark sparrows, towhees, insects and green snakes… if they don’t see you first.

This will be a morning outing, we will Leave Brandon at at 7:00am. There will be an option to explore the surrounding area following our visit to the Sandhills.

Trip Difficulty: The Sandhills are some distance from Brandon, about 1 1/4 hour drive. There are moderately steep sand hills in the area to climb or you can keep to the flatter, generally sandy, terrain… 2-3km walking. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring water & snacks/lunch. Don’t forget insect repellent as the usual ticks and mosquitoes may be joined by sand-flies or black-flies; there is also poison ivy at this site.

Please complete and submit this short form to register for this event. We will email details a day or so before the event.

Time: 7:00 AM
Location: Lauder Sandhills

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Previous Events

May 2024

Saturday, May 25 2024

Manitoba IBA Shorebird Workshop; Hosted by Manitoba IBA

The Manitoba Important Bird Areas Program will be hosting a shorebird workshop near Brandon in late May. The exact location depends on where the shorebirds are at that time, hopefully within a half hour drive of Brandon! Telescopes will be available for extra close views. This is a great opportunity to see a variety of species, get some tips on identification and follow-up on the shorebird ID talk on May 17th.

This event was cancelled due to poor weather.

Time: 9:00 AM
Location: Brandon Area

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Wednesday, May 22 2024

Nature Walk - Brandon Cemetery; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join us for a walk (less than 2km) through the Brandon Cemetery, where we will follow the paths looking for any migratory sparrows or warblers making their way through the many trees.

This walk will start at 7pm. We will meet at the Aberdeen Avenue entrance to the cemetery. Limited parking is available in the cemetery, more parking is available across the street next to Canadian Tire. Don’t forget your binoculars and camera if you have them, we may also use bird apps such as Merlin, which is free to install on your phone. Please be sure to dress for the weather! No sign up is required for this event, though there will be a waiver to sign.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brandon Cemetery

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Sunday, May 19 2024

Warbler Trek at Riding Mountain NP; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join us for an early morning walk at Riding Mountain National Park as we search for warblers and other interesting birds migrating through! Last year we had a great turnout (people and birds), so we hope to see you there! Carpooling is always great, so if you want to tag along with someone let us know when filling out the form.

We will be walking about 4-5km on RMNP trails which can be rough, wet and muddy at this time of year. You will need good boots and clothes for all weathers. Please bring water, snacks and lunch. Don’t forget your binoculars and camera if you have them, bird ID apps (Merlin, Warbler Guide, Sibley Birds or iBird) might be useful. Be aware the ticks and/or mosquitos will likely be out…

Time: 8:00 AM
Location: Riding Mountain National Park

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Friday, May 17 2024

Shorebird ID Talk; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Ever wonder what those long-legged birds are feeding on the mud and the shallow water? Shorebirds are tricky! With so many species that can look very similar, it can be a challenge to work out what you’re looking at.

Gillian and Gwyn Richards will share some of their ID tips for the shorebird species that we see most often in western Manitoba. Practice your new skills in the field at the Shorebird Workshop offered by the MB IBA Program on May 25th.

You can attend our talks in person at the Brodie Building, Room 3-47 or join via Zoom.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brodie Building Rm 3-47, Brandon University & Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Saturday, May 11 2024

Global Big Day at the Riverbank Discovery Centre; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Global Big Day is an annual celebration of the birds around you. With spring migration, you’re bound to see some interesting species! We’re hosting an event which will start at the Riverbank Discovery Centre parking lot. We will check out the Riverbank and visit other birdy spots in Brandon, where we will count the birds in the area to see how many species and individuals we can find.

Afterwards, you can submit your own lists and contribute to the global effort! Check out this link to find out more about Global Big Day.

There will be some driving involved, and walking, up to about 2km. You will need good boots as trails may be rough, wet and muddy at this time of year; and be sure to dress for the weather! Please bring water, snacks and an optional lunch. Don’t forget your binoculars and camera if you have them. We will have telescopes available, for extra close views of the birds we find. Be aware the ticks and/or mosquitos will likely be out…

Time: 8:30 AM
Location: Riverbank Discovery Centre

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Wednesday, May 08 2024

Nature Walk - Assiniboine Food Forest; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Our weekday evening walks are starting this upcoming Wednesday! Join us at the Assiniboine Food Forest in Brandon for a walk along the river and through the trees. Parts of the path are flooded next to the river, but that means we may get a good view of some ducks!

We will be walking up to about 2km on trails which may be wet and muddy at this time of year. You will need good boots and clothes for all weathers. Don’t forget your binoculars or camera if you have them. Be aware the ticks and/or mosquitos will likely be out…

This walk will start at 6:30pm. Parking will be available at the Green Spot and at Crow’s General Store. Stop for some ice cream after if the weather is suitable (or even if it isn’t)! No sign up is required for this event, though there will be a waiver to sign.

Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Assiniboine Food Forest

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

April 2024

Friday, Apr 26 2024

City Nature Challenge Walk at the Riverbank Discovery Centre; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join us for a walk on the first day of the iNaturalist City Nature Challenge! This is the third year that Brandon is participating in the four day event dedicated to observing anything and everything natural around the city. The Brandon project is organized by the Brandon City Nature Challenge, find them on Facebook or Instagram.

Welcome to iNaturalist City Nature Challenge! Four days dedicated to documenting all the living organisms that live where we work and play in the Brandon region. Join the Brandon project at https://inaturalist.ca/projects/2024-brandon-city-nature-challenge.

Time: 5:30 PM
Location: Riverbank Discovery Centre

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Friday, Apr 19 2024

Invasive Species and the CCIS Youth Nature Keepers; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Some species are bad neighbours for us, other animals, and plants. Join Mike Bagamery as he shares what the Canadian Council on Invasive Species’ Youth Nature Keepers have done to address the destructive impacts of certain introduced species.

Mike Bagamery (he/him/his) is an interdisciplinary thinker and activist who has the honour to work as the youth engagement coordinator for the Canadian Council on Invasive Species in Manitoba. He has a BA in political science and a master’s degree in natural resource management from the University of Manitoba, which he has used to help write the policy document Manitoba’s Road to Resilience from Manitoba’s Climate Action Team and as one of the first Parliamentary Interns for the Environment (under GreenPAC in 2022–2023) to specialize in sustainable agriculture.

This is a hybrid event! Mike will be joining us via Zoom, but we’ll still be meeting in person! Feel free to come in person to socialize with your fellow Westman Naturalists and see the talk, or join us via Zoom.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brodie Building Rm 3-47, Brandon University & Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Friday, Apr 05 2024

Bird names and Migration - What is in a name and how do they get there?; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Several bird species have English names which are considered harmful and exclusionary, but how do we approach this problem? Join the Westman Naturalists as we learn more about how the American Ornithological Society is addressing this conundrum. Dr. Erica Nol will share with us insights from working on this AOS committee as well as some exciting work on migratory shorebirds in Northern Manitoba.

Erica is a Professor of Biology at Trent University, teaching introductory biology, research design and data analysis, and field courses in ornithology. Erica has supervised over 60 graduate students, many of whom have conducted their research in Northern Manitoba, where Churchill turns out to be a site of significant importance to a number of uncommon shorebird species.

This is a hybrid event! Erica will be joining us via Zoom, but we’ll still be meeting in person! Feel free to come in person to socialize with your fellow Westman Naturalists and see the talk, or join us via Zoom.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brodie Building Rm 3-47, Brandon University & Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

March 2024

Friday, Mar 01 2024

Brave New Worlds: ExoPlanets and the hunt for Earth 2.0; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

This talk will introduce you to the cutting-edge field in astronomy of extra-solar planetary systems detection and observation. We will review the history of the field of exoplanets, and demonstrate the three principle methods for detection (radial-velocity, transits, and direct-imaging). Along the way we will meet many of the new solar systems we have found in the universe. You will learn about the habitable zone, Drake equation, and where the next advances are expected with the power of the James Webb Telescope.

Dr. Tyler Foster has a B.A. in English Literature (1992), and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Alberta (2003). Tyler worked for the National Research Council of Canada from 2003 to 2006, and has been at BU for 18 years. Tyler’s hobbies are varied: building backyard telescopes, bagpipping with the 26th Field Regiment Pipes & Drums, and treasurer and fundraiser for the Westman Multicultural Festival.

This is a hybrid event! Feel free to come in person to meet Tyler and see the talk, or join us via Zoom.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brodie Building Rm 3-47, Brandon University & Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

February 2024

Monday, Feb 19 2024

Great Backyard Bird Count; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

The Great Backyard Bird Count starts next weekend, Friday Feb 16th to Monday Feb 19th! You can count from your own yard, or a local birdy spot. All you need to do is count for at least 15 minutes and report your results on eBird. For more details visit the Great Backyard Bird Count website.

Counting birds in Westman? Share your list with us! You can share the eBird checklist with our email, <westman.naturalists@gmail.com>, or email it directly to us.

Time: 4 days
Location: Westman

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

January 2024

Saturday, Jan 27 2024

Searching for Wolves Snowshoe Trek; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join Ken Kingdon for another nature adventure at Riding Mountain National Park. This event was originally planned for January 20th, but was postponed, and this one will be warmer. We will trek on snowshoes to look for animal tracks and signs of wolves; and hope to see wolves or other wildlife & boreal forest birds. The exact location will be determined on the day, depending on conditions and scouting.

We will snowshoe as a group at a fairly slow pace, through trails and bush for a distance of up to 4km. After our snowshoeing adventure we will drive a few roads to see what other tracks and wildlife we can find.

If you are travelling from Brandon we will leave town around 9am and meet up again in Wasagaming at about 10:15am. We will probably finish our day at the Park between 2 and 3pm. Car pooling will be available. This event is in the National Park so please be prepared to purchase a pass at the gate if you bring a vehicle; the cost is ~$8.50/person or $16.75/vehicle.

Trip Difficulty: - Please dress appropriately - with plenty of warm layers, and warm gloves and boots etc. The forecast is currently predicting -8C to -4C with slight wind-chill, much nicer than the 20th :) - This outing will be quite physically demanding. Please only sign-up if you will be able to snowshoe 4km without too much difficulty. - Bring your own snowshoes etc, or rent from Friends of RMNP ($5 per pair for the day). - Please bring drinks, snacks and lunch.

Time: 10:15 AM
Location: Wasagaming in Riding Mountain NP

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Friday, Jan 26 2024

Protecting Endangered Poison Dart Frogs; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Amid global threats to biodiversity, amphibians face their own unique challenges that require immediate action. Join us this evening as Andres Posso-Terranova shares his work on how modern DNA technology and colouration analysis can be used as powerful tools for conserving endangered poison dart frogs in Colombia.

Dr. Andres Posso-Terranova is an evolutionary biologist from Colombia who studies biological diversity and its application to conservation programs. He holds a BSc in Biology from Universidad del Valle in Columbia, and a PhD in genetics from the University of Saskatchewan. He is currently working as an instructor and lab coordinator for the Department of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan.

This is a hybrid event! Andres will be joining us via Zoom, but we’ll still be meeting in person! Feel free to come in person to socialize with your fellow Westman Naturalists and see the talk, or join us via Zoom.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brodie Building Rm 3-47, Brandon University & Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

December 2023

Saturday, Dec 30 2023

Christmas Bird Count - Rivers; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Contribute to citizen science by joining the Rivers Christmas Bird Count! With the same format as the Brandon CBC, we’re looking for Field Counters and Feeder Watchers in a 15 mile diameter circle around Rivers.

If you are interested in participating in the Rivers Christmas Bird Count, please fill out this form.

There are two ways to participate in a Christmas Bird Count. You can join a group as a Field Counter within an assigned area, or be a Feeder Watcher and count the birds that are attracted to your yard and feeders. All skill levels are welcome to join the count, beginner birders will be partnered with more experienced groups and help with identifying birds will be available. Participants are welcome to join for a full day of counting or the amount of time that best suits them.

If you have questions or are looking for information on other CBCs in the area, please email us at <westman.naturalists@gmail.com>. After filling out the form we will contact you for more information.

Time: All day
Location: Rivers

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Sunday, Dec 17 2023

Christmas Bird Count - Brandon; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

The 42rd annual Brandon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will take place on Sunday, December 17th. This citizen science project has a long and important history of tracking bird populations and trends across North America. Participants will count birds within a 15-mile diameter circle surrounding the city of Brandon.

If you are interested in participating in the Brandon Christmas Bird Count, please fill out this form.

There are two ways to participate in a Christmas Bird Count. You can join a group as a Field Counter within an assigned area, or be a Feeder Watcher and count the birds that are attracted to your yard and feeders. All skill levels are welcome to join the count, beginner birders will be partnered with more experienced groups and help with identifying birds will be available. Participants are welcome to join for a full day of counting or the amount of time that best suits them.

If you have questions or are looking for information on other CBCs in the area, please email us at <westman.naturalists@gmail.com>. After filling out the form we will contact you for more information.

Time: All day
Location: Brandon

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Friday, Dec 01 2023

Photo Share & Book Swap; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join the Westman Naturalists for a night of fun, socializing and photo sharing. In this inaugural event, we invite some members to share nature-related photos and stories for our enjoyment.

All are welcome to come and appreciate the stories, and if you would like to share your photos, please sign up via this form! We will select about 10 members to share up to four stories with photos within four minutes. Our hope is to have a good mix of in-person and online members, so if you normally join via Zoom, don’t feel like you can’t participate! We will put everything together and handle the technology, all you have to do is show up!

We will also have a book swap, so feel free to bring nature-related books that you are finished with. Members are invited to bring books or take books (you don’t need to bring anything to go home with a book). Please be aware that books left over at the end will be donated or recycled.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brodie Building Rm 3-47, Brandon University & Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

November 2023

Sunday, Nov 26 2023

Feeder Watch & Walk; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Get ready for the Christmas Bird Count with us at the Assiniboine Food Forest on Sunday, November 26th! We’ll be walking the trails and checking feeders with Dave Barnes at 9AM, looking for winter birds like Pine Grosbeaks and Bohemian Waxwings.

Park at the loop at Rosser Ave E and 17th St E, or at the Green Spot. We hope to see you there!

Time: 9:00 AM
Location: Assiniboine Food Forest

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Friday, Nov 03 2023

All about Badgers!; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Are you curious about Manitoba’s prairies and the enigmatic creatures that inhabitant them? Please join Melanie Dubois and the Westman Naturalists for a presentation that will shed light on an iconic but sometimes elusive grassland species - the American Badger. With their distinctive appearance and fascinating behaviour, badgers have long intrigued wildlife enthusiast. Explore the hidden world of badgers, learn about their vital role in our prairie ecosystems and explain how you can become a citizen scientist to contribute to our understanding of badgers and their conservation.

Melanie Dubois is a federal wildlife researcher who has been looking at the interactions between wildlife and agricultural systems for over 25 years and is a long serving member of the executive board of the Manitoba Chapter of the Wildlife Society.

This is a hybrid event! Feel free to come in person to meet Melanie and see the talk, or join us via Zoom.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brodie Building Rm 3-47, Brandon University & Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

October 2023

Saturday, Oct 14 2023

October Big Day!; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join Westman Naturalists on October Big Day as they explore the paths at the Riverbank Centre.

Trip difficulty: We will be walking the paths at the Riverbank Centre, they are generally smooth, with some sloped sections and stairs.

The outing will last 1 to 1.5 hours, with 1-3km of walking.

Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and bring your binoculars, cameras and phones if you have them. We will have binoculars available for loan and telescopes available.

Please meet us at the entrance to the Riverbank Discovery Centre at 9am. No sign-up is needed for this event, but we will ask you to sign our waiver.

Time: 9:00 AM
Location: Riverbank Discovery Centre

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

September 2023

Friday, Sep 29 2023

Adventures in Quetico; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Quetico Provincial Park, located in northwestern Ontario, is a world famous destination for backcountry canoeing with over 2,000 lakes and 460,000 ha of remote wilderness. Please join Westman Naturalist members, Steffi and Alex, as they share logistics, photos, and stories of their recent 125km, 7-day, canoe adventure through this fantastic landscape. They saw a range of plants and animals (and some fun behaviours!) from regenerating forests, towering white pines, curious beavers, a loud asylum of loons, and a family of majestic trumpeter swans. Their canoe route took them through large and small lakes, rivers, swamps, across many beaver dams, past granite bluffs, and they even camped on an island just barely big enough for a tent! In this talk, Steffi and Alex will unpack some of the interesting animal behaviour observations, ecology, and natural history of the area, as well as some of the logistics and planning they did for this adventure.

Dr. Alex Koiter is a professor in the Department of Geography and Environment at Brandon University and Dr. Steffi LaZerte is a research software developer with a background in animal behaviour.

This is a hybrid event! Feel free to come in person to meet Steffi and Alex and see the talk, or join us via Zoom.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brodie Building Rm 3-47, Brandon University & Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Saturday, Sep 16 2023

Moose at Riding Mountain National Park; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Like the Elk, Moose get a bit frisky during their mating season starting in mid-September. Ken Kingdon is hoping to track down some Moose in the Moon Lake area, or at the very least see some additional signs that the rut is on. Starting at 8:00AM at Moon Lake, going for about 2 hours.

Trip difficulty: This tour will be quite strenuous, including hiking up to 5km (return) and maybe doing some bush-wacking. The trail may be rough, and muddy with tree roots. Please wear appropriate footwear and clothing, and bring water and snacks/lunch.

Time: 8:00 AM
Location: Lake Audy

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Wednesday, Sep 13 2023

Nature Walk - Westman Salvage; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

A chance to explore a local “nature spot” and meet others who are interested in nature. Just come along, no sign-up is needed for Nature Walks, but you will be asked to sign a waiver.

We will check out the water for ducks, grebes and other waterfowl. There will also be an optional walk to explore some woodland close by. The walking is generally flat with little mud. Please bring a lawn chair, if you wish to stay in one spot.

No experience is needed for this event, just an interest in nature. Please wear appropriate shoes and clothing and come prepared for all weather. Please bring your binoculars, telescope and camera if you have them, they are not essential. We will have telescopes available for general use.

To find the Ponds drive to the far east end of Victoria Avenue. Cross the Eastern Access Road (carefully) and turn right (south) on the dirt road past Westman Salvage, we will meet in the open area just south of the tracks.

Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Westman Salvage Ponds

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Sunday, Sep 10 2023

Hawk Watch; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Come and count hawks as they migrate South on Sunday morning. The view point is a marvelous spot overlooking the Assiniboine Valley, North of Virden.

Our hawk watch is a regular, yearly event and is part of a North America wide effort to count migrating raptors. We usually see numerous birds floating by as they head South. We will meet at 8am in Brandon, the site is about 1 hour from Brandon, or you can travel directly to the site.

Don’t worry if your hawk ID skills need work, there will be plenty of “experts” there to help. They usually learnt at past hawk watches :) Please bring a LAWN CHAIR if you have one - we are at one spot for a few hours. Also snacks, coffee, etc. AND of course binoculars and a scope if you have one. Bring your bird book too, if you have one! There is a free app which may be useful - Raptor ID.

Hawk-watching will probably last until just after lunch or thereabouts. After the watch you can go home, or join us in taking a detour to see what Oak Lake has to offer in the way of birds.

Trip difficulty: Minimal walking involved, but the surface is rough in places.

Time: 9:00 AM
Location: Virden

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Saturday, Sep 09 2023

Elk Bugling at Riding Mountain National Park; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Early September is a prime time to see, hear, and smell the Elk (Wapiti) rut, or mating season, in RMNP. Join Ken Kingdon for an evening of listening for bugling elk in this car-based exploration of the Lake Audy Road and Bison Enclosure. A short night-hike up the Strathclair trail (less than 1 km return) will be added on for those willing to brave the dark. Start at 7:30pm on the north shore of Clear Lake, duration approx. 2 hours.

Trip Difficulty: This is an evening trip by vehicle, with an optional walk on RMNP trials in the dark, which may be rough, and muddy with tree roots. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and bring water.

Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Clear Lake

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

August 2023

Wednesday, Aug 30 2023

Nature Walk - Agriculture Research Station; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

A chance to explore a local “nature spot” and meet others who are interested in nature. Just come along, no sign-up is needed for Nature Walks, but you will be asked to sign a waiver.

We’ll be hosting an evening walk at the Agriculture Research Station in Brandon, located about a mile west of the Corral Centre, along the Grand Valley Road. The Research Station is full of trees with plenty of paths to follow. We’ll likely see a lot of deer! This walk starts a little earlier as the sun will be setting sooner. Meet at the station’s main parking lot, with location linked here.

Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Agriculture Research Station

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Sunday, Aug 27 2023

IBA - Whitewater Lake Bird Blitz; Hosted by Manitoba IBA Program

Join Westman Naturalists members and others for a great morning of birding at Whitewater Lake (West of Boissevain, about 1 hour south of Brandon). We will be counting shorebirds - but there will be lots of other species to see as well, hopefully good numbers of ducks, geese, raptors and sandhill cranes.

Support bird conservation in Manitoba by participating in our citizen science monitoring of birds, in particular swallows and shorebirds. Whitewater Lake is a premier destination in Canada for shorebirds, and a wide variety of other birds. Carpooling from Winnipeg or Brandon may be available. This is a free event suitable for all skill levels. Snacks and refreshments will be provided.

Time: 8:30 AM
Location: Whitewater lake

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Sunday, Aug 20 2023

Waggle Springs; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join us at this NCC property East of Brandon on the Assiniboine River. We will find a very nice example of prairie, there will be butterflies, birds and of course grasses and flowers, and maybe a skink or two. For those who wish to explore further there are a number of other interesting habitats to investigate.

Trip Difficulty: This is a morning trip with vehicle access to the area and walking up to 2km over generally flat terrain, with optional sloped areas; there are no groomed trails to walk on. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring water & snacks/lunch. Don’t forget insect repellant as both ticks and mosquitos may be present.

There will be an opportunity to visit a few other areas of prairie on the way back to Brandon.

Time: 10:00 AM
Location: Waggle Springs

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Wednesday, Aug 16 2023

Nature Walk - Cornwallis Park; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

A chance to explore a local “nature spot” and meet others who are interested in nature. Just come along, no sign-up is needed for Nature Walks, but you will be asked to sign a waiver.

We will meet in Cornwallis Park, the entrance is on the right, a little less than 2 miles along Veteran’s Way from 1st Street, see here for Google directions. This area is home to red-headed woodpeckers and river bottom oaks. You can either walk the road/trails (up to 2km) which are generally flat; or for those who would prefer to stay in one place, you can bring a lawn chair and let the nature come to you.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Cornwallis Park

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Sunday, Aug 06 2023

Criddle/Vane Homestead; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join the Westman Naturalists on a morning field trip to the historic Criddle Vane Park (South of Shilo) where we will see an abundance of birds and native wildflowers. This area is a popular spot to see Eastern and Mountain Bluebirds. We will also use this opportunity to explore the growing threat of invasive species in natural habitats. Devon Baete of Squeal on Pigs Manitoba will show participants how to recognize the signs of invasive wild pigs. Invasive plants such as Baby’s Breath will be identified and discussed.

Trip Difficulty: This is a morning trip with vehicle access to the area and short walks over flat terrain. There are roadside ditches to cross in some areas. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring water & snacks/lunch. Don’t forget insect repellant as both ticks and mosquitos may be present.

Time: 10:00 AM
Location: Criddle/Vane Homestead in Sprucewoods Provincial Park

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Wednesday, Aug 02 2023

Nature Walk - Riverbank Discovery Centre; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

A chance to explore a local “nature spot” and meet others who are interested in nature. Just come along, no sign-up is needed for Nature Walks, but you will be asked to sign a waiver.

We will meet near the front of the Riverbank Discovery Centre Building. You can then either walk the trails (about 2km) which are generally flat, with a couple of slopes, or for those who would prefer to stay in one place and be part of a group that will stay close to the Discovery Centre, there is some seating or you can bring a lawn chair.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Riverbank Discovery Centre

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

July 2023

Saturday, Jul 29 2023

Riding Mountain National Park - Beach Ridges Trail & Glacial Lake Agassiz; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Come and join Dr. Alex Koiter on a nature walk in Riding Mountain National Park and learn about the ancient Glacial Lake Agassiz. In addition to seeing the remains of the old Lake Agassiz beaches and learning about the physical landscape, we will have the opportunity to walk through oak and hazel forest where we can hope to see a range of plant and animal species.

Trip details: We will meet at Dinsdale Park in Brandon at 8:00am for those who wish to carpool, otherwise please meet us at the Beach Ridge trailhead at 10:00am on Saturday July 29th. It is approximately a 1hr 45m drive north from Brandon. Directions to the trailhead can be found here: https://goo.gl/maps/5sD4c9kJBNHyPx9J9. This walk is in the National Park so please be prepared to purchase a pass at the gate; the cost is ~$8.50/person or $16.75/vehicle. After the Beach Ridge walk we will break for lunch. After lunch, you are welcome to either head back home or join us for an additional walk on the Bead Lakes trail. On the Bead Lakes walk we will explore some current lakes and learn about the hydrology and formation of lakes in Riding Mountain National Park.

Trip difficulty: This outing involves walking along a well established trails. Please be prepared, you will need to bring good pair of walking shoes, sunscreen, bug protection, water, snacks and lunch. The Beach Ridge walk will be approximately 2-3 hrs in duration and 3.5 km in length. The Bead Lake walk is of similar difficulty will be approximately 2-3 hrs in duration and 3.9 km in length.

Glacial Lake Agassiz: During the Wisconsin glacial period, 75,000 to 10,000 years ago, the Laurentide Ice Sheet covered much of North America. As the ice sheet began to melt the massive Lake Agassiz formed in front of the ice sheet as it retreated northward. A total, 950,000 km2 was covered at some point time by Lake Agassiz water. Lake Winnipeg, Cedar Lake, Lake Manitoba, and Lake Winnipegosis are all that remains of this once massive lake. Just like modern lakes, wave action formed beaches at the shores of Lake Agassiz. Along the Manitoba Escarpment we can spot some of these old beaches as low and linear ridges comprised of sand and gravel.

Time: 8:00 (Brandon) / 10:00 (RMNP)
Location: Riding Mountain National Park

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Wednesday, Jul 19 2023

Nature Walk - ACC North Hill Campus; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

A chance to explore a local “nature spot” and meet others who are interested in nature. Just come along, no sign-up is needed for Nature Walks, but you will be asked to sign a waiver.

We will explore the trails at ACC’s North Hill Campus. This is a great area for nature, with a creek, open areas and established trees. These trails are generally flat, some are gravel, we will walk about 1.5-2.5km. If time permits we may explore Lori Road and 107 West by car; as there some good spots there.

No experience is needed for this event, just an interest in nature. Please wear appropriate shoes and clothing and come prepared to repel ticks and mosquitoes. Please bring your binoculars and camera if you have them, they are not essential.

Meet in the Red Barn parking lot at 7PM, here are directions on Google maps from 1st and Victoria in Brandon. The Southern apparent entrance to the ACC campus is not public, so you need to turn East onto Lori Road at the lights towards the top of the hill, and enter the Campus from the North, going round a couple of traffic circles.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Assiniboine Community College

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Saturday, Jul 15 2023

IBA Red-headed Woodpecker Blitz; Hosted by Manitoba IBA Program

The Manitoba IBA Program and Westman Naturalists are organizing a Red-headed Woodpecker blitz on Saturday, July 15th! At the Oak Lake/Plum Lakes IBA we’ll be looking for Red-headed Woodpeckers and any other species that are sure to be found in this great location.

Time: All day
Location: Oak Lake/Plum Lakes IBA

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Sunday, Jul 09 2023

Explore Griswold’s Native Grasslands & Marshes; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Griswold Marsh is a well-known destination for birding, but did you know it also has grasslands full of wildflowers and butterflies during the summer season? Grab your camera and come join the Westman Naturalists on a walk through a lovely native grassland about 40 minutes’ drive west of Brandon. We expect to see a variety of wildflowers in bloom including Canadian Lousewort, Northern grass of Parnassus, Blazing Stars, and Brown-eyed Susan. Glennis Lewis will be on hand to help with plant identifications. There will also be an opportunity for birding in the grasslands (you should see bobolinks) and around the marshes.

Trip Difficulty: This is a morning trip with vehicle access to the area and short walks over flat terrain. There are roadside ditches to cross in some areas. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring water & snacks/lunch. Don’t forget insect repellent as both ticks and mosquitoes may be present.

Time: 9:00 AM
Location: Griswold Marsh

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Wednesday, Jul 05 2023

Nature Walk - Crows General Store - Across the Tracks; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

A chance to explore a local “nature spot” and meet others who are interested in nature. Just come along, no sign-up is needed for Nature Walks, but you will be asked to sign a waiver.

We will explore the trails across the tracks from Crow’s General Store through woodland, grasslands and by the river (up to about 3km). These trails are generally flat, with a few tree roots or muddy spots. Don’t forget to bring some cash if you think you may be tempted by Crow’s ice cream parlour after your walk.

No experience is needed for this event, just an interest in nature. Please wear appropriate shoes and clothing and come prepared to repel ticks and mosquitoes. Please bring your binoculars and camera if you have them, they are not essential.

Meet in the parking lot of Crow’s General Store. This is located at the far east end of Rosser Avenue, go past the Green Spot and turn left at the end of the road, the entrance is on your right before the tracks.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Crow’s General Store, Brandon

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Sunday, Jul 02 2023

Lauder Sandhills; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join us for a trip to the MHHC property at the Lauder Sandhills to check out one of the remarkable natural habitats of Western Manitoba. We will find the rare and fascinating Western Spiderwort, hopefully in flower, as well as hairy prairie clover, cacti & other interesting plants. There will also be a chance to see lark sparrows, towhees, insects and green snakes…. if they don’t see you first.

This will be a morning outing, we will meet at 8am in Brandon. There will be an option to explore the surrounding area following our visit to the Sandhills.

Trip Difficulty: The Sandhills are some distance South East of Brandon, about 1 1/4 hour drive. There are moderately steep sand hills in the area to climb or you can keep to the flatter, generally sandy, terrain… 2-3km walking. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring water & snacks/lunch. Don’t forget insect repellent as the usual ticks and mosquitoes may be joined by sandflies or blackflies; there is also poison ivy at this site.

Time: 8:00 AM
Location: Lauder Sandhills

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

June 2023

Saturday, Jun 24 2023

Brookdale Farm (MBFI) & Nearby Potholes; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiative’s Brookdale Farm is a research and demonstration farm dedicated to working with farmers to support the advancement of the beef cattle and forage industries. They support adoption of practices and technologies shown to increase productivity, mitigate production risks, minimize carbon footprints, and increase overall sustainability on the landscape.

Mary-Jane Orr, the General Manager of MBFI, will tell us a little about some of their current projects and lead us on a tour of the farm where we will find a soil pit, native plants, shelterbelts and pasture and potholes.

After the visit to MBFI there will be an opportunity to join us for a tour of local potholes – where we will be sure to find numerous ducks and other treasures.

Trip Difficulty: This outing will involve walking about 1km along trails and across fields. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring water & snacks/lunch. Don’t forget insect repellent as both ticks and mosquitos will no doubt join us.

Time: 9:00 AM
Location: MBFI Brookdale Farm, Brandon

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Wednesday, Jun 21 2023

Nature Walk - Westman Salvage Ponds; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

A chance to explore a local “nature spot” and meet others who are interested in nature. Just come along, no sign-up is needed for Nature Walks, but you will be asked to sign a waiver.

We will check out the water for ducks, grebes and other waterfowl. With luck we will see goslings and ducklings. There will also be an optional walk to explore some woodland close by. The walking is generally flat with little mud. Please bring a lawn chair, if you wish.

No experience is needed for this event, just an interest in nature. Please bring your binoculars, telescope and camera if you have them, they are not essential. We will have telescopes available for general use.

To find the Ponds drive to the far East end of Victoria Avenue. Cross the Eastern Access Road (carefully) and turn right (South) on the dirt road past Westman Salvage, we will meet in the open area just South of the tracks.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Westman Salvage Ponds

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Monday, Jun 19 2023

Explore East Side of Riding Mountain National Park; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join trip leaders Colin Blyth & Gillian Richards in a quest to explore lesser-known trails on the East side of Riding Mountain National Park. This area is a transition between boreal and deciduous forest and is home to many interesting plants, insects and birds, hopefully including indigo bunting.

No experience is needed for this event, just an interest in nature. Be aware that patience may be required as the group will stop frequently. Please bring your binoculars and camera if you have them, they are not essential but come in handy.

Please be aware that Hwy 19 in RMNP is closed, so the east side of the park has to be approached via Hwy #5.

Trip Difficulty: This outing will involve walking between 3 and 5km on trails. These can be rough with tree roots, and may be sandy or muddy. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring water & snacks/lunch. Don’t forget insect repellent as both ticks and mosquitoes will no doubt join us.

Time: 8:00 AM
Location: McCreary

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Sunday, Jun 11 2023

IBA - Grassland Bird Blitz in the Southwestern Manitoba Mixed-Grass Prairie IBA; Hosted by Manitoba IBA Program

Join us as we search the mixed grass prairie habitat for bird species at risk such as the Chestnut-collared Longspur, Sprague’s Pipit, Ferruginous Hawk, Loggerhead Shrike and more! Limited accommodations may be able to be provided.

Time: 5:30 AM
Location: Southwestern Manitoba Mixed-Grass Prairie IBA

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Saturday, Jun 10 2023

IBA - Conservation Champions Presentation in Pipestone; Hosted by Manitoba IBA Program

The Manitoba IBA program will be visiting the Pipestone Community Hall to connect with landowners and raise awareness about Red-headed Woodpeckers, Eastern Whip-poor-wills and our Conservation Champions program. There will be a presentation at 3 pm, followed by an open house from 3:45 pm – 5 pm during which folks can drop in and meet our staff, learn about our program, and enjoy some refreshments.

Time: 3:00 PM
Location: Pipestone Community Hall

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Saturday, Jun 10 2023

IBA - Community Bird Walk at Gerald W. Malaher WMA; Hosted by Manitoba IBA Program

Join as we look for and learn about the grassland and forest birds that call this piece of the Southwestern Manitoba Mixed Grass Prairie IBA home. Participants of all ages and birding skill levels welcome. Some binoculars will be available to use. No registration necessary.

Time: 9:00 AM
Location: Gerald W. Malaher WMA (near Melita)

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Wednesday, Jun 07 2023

Nature Walk - Assiniboine Food Forest; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

A chance to explore a local “nature spot” and meet others who are interested in nature. Just come along, no sign-up is needed for Nature Walks, but you will be asked to sign a waiver.

Meet in the parking lot of Crow’s General Store. This is located at the far East end of Rosser Avenue, turn left at the end of the road, the entrance is on your right before the tracks.

There will be two options for this Nature Walk event. Walking the trails (up to about 3km), these are generally flat, with a few tree roots or muddy spots. OR for those who have mobility issues or just prefer to stay in one place to be part of the group that will stay close to Crow’s General Store - there is some seating or you can bring a lawn chair. Bring some cash if you think you may be tempted by Crow’s Ice-cream Parlour.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Crow’s General Store

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Sunday, Jun 04 2023

Morning Walk at Lake Clementi; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Exploring nature and history at the lake.

Lake Clementi, a small lake in the Brandon Hills, is a favoured spot for local birders. In June, the forests around the lake are full of Baltimore Orioles, Blue Jays, Cedar Waxwings, and many other songbirds that fill the air with song. The lake also offers excellent opportunities to see ducks, grebes, and cormorants.

But few are aware of the rich human history of Lake Clementi. It was a popular vacation and picnicking spot for Brandon Citizens beginning in the late 1880s. Interest in the area declined when the road was built north to Clear Lake and plans to build a large resort with many cottages were abandoned.

Join the Westman Naturalists for a morning stroll along Lake Clementi on Sunday, June 4 to enjoy the abundant natural life in this beautiful spot. We will also take a stroll into the past with a presentation on Lake Clementi history from a long-time resident at the lake.

Depending on time and birds seen, we might investigate other locations in the Brandon Hills. Bring your apps, bird and plant books, binoculars, cameras, etc. Don’t forget to wear appropriate clothing and footwear. A spotting scope will be available to view birds on the lake.

Trip Leaders: Glennis Lewis and Gillian Richards

Trip Difficulty: This outing involves walking along a gravel road where there is occasional traffic, about 2.5km. Optional locations may have rough trails. Be aware that wood ticks and mosquitos may join us on this outing.

Time: 9:00 AM
Location: Lake Clementi

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

May 2023

Sunday, May 28 2023

Whitewater Lake Adventure; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Whitewater Lake is a world-class nature destination, with huge numbers of migrants coming through at this time of year, it is located to the south of Brandon a few miles to the West of the town of Boissevain. The area around the lake is one of 38 International Important Bird Areas in Manitoba. It is also home to a number of International Shorebird Survey routes, we will complete at lease one of these on our trip.

Join trip leaders Colin Blyth & Gillian Richards for a tour of some of the best spots around the lake to observe birds, plants and nature in general. Colin and Gillian are Caretakers for the IBA and have spent numerous days exploring the area, so are able to guide you through the sometimes bewildering maze of roads around the lake.

No experience is needed for this event, just an interest in nature. Please bring your binoculars, telescope and camera if you have them, they are not essential. We will have telescopes available for general use.

Trip Difficulty: This outing will mostly involve driving around the lake and stopping at various locations. Some optional walking is likely, which can be over very rough, often muddy ground. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring water & snacks/lunch. We will aim to car-pool as much as possible, for a better group experience and to minimize disturbance to the local residents.

Time: 8:00 AM
Location: Whitewater Lake

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Wednesday, May 24 2023

Nature Walk - Riverbank Discovery Centre; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

A chance to explore a local “nature spot” and meet others who are interested in nature. Just come along, no sign-up is needed for Nature Walks, but you will be asked to sign a waiver.

Meet behind the Riverbank Discovery Centre Building, on the north side.

There will be two options for this first Nature Walk event. Walking the trails (about 2km), which are generally flat, with a couple of slopes. OR for those who have mobility issues or just prefer to stay in one place to be part of the group that will stay close to the Discovery Centre - there is some seating or you can bring a lawn chair.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Riverbank Discovery Centre

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Monday, May 22 2023

Warbler Trek; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join trip leaders Colin Blyth & Gillian Richards in a quest to find warblers as they head north into the RMNP forest. This is a great location and time of year, so if you are interested in a warbler hunt, please join us. Numbers are limited on this trip, so please sign-up soon by completing the form below.

No experience is needed for this event, just an interest in nature. Be aware that patience may be required as the group searches the canopy for warblers. Please bring your binoculars and camera if you have them, they are not essential but binoculars are very handy for warbler watching…

Trip Difficulty: This outing will involve walking about 4 - 5km on the RMNP Trails. These are usually rough with tree roots, and muddy at this time of year. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring water & snacks/lunch.

Time: 8:00 AM
Location: Riding Mountain National Park

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Saturday, May 20 2023

Spring Warbler Walk in Souris; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

One of the best things about spring is the warbler migration. These tiny colourful birds sweep through the Westman area, often briefly seen high above in the forest canopy. You are invited to join the Westman Naturalists and trip leader Glennis Lewis for a morning outing to Souris to look for spring warblers, and other migrants. Last year we saw many warblers plus a few surprises like a red-bellied woodpecker and a garter snake.

No experience is needed for this event, just an interest in nature. Please bring your binoculars and camera if you have them, they are not essential.

Trip Difficulty: This outing will involve walking about 2.5km on the Trails in Victoria Park in Souris, which can be rough with tree roots and involve some hills. Caution is needed in walking along the steep cliffs along the north side of the park. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring water & snacks.

Time: 9:00 AM
Location: Souris

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Friday, May 05 2023

Sparrow ID with Tim Poole; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

The Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas documented 22 species of New World Sparrow breeding in Manitoba. Some will remain in southern Manitoba to breed and some will move further afield to the boreal or the north. Join Tim Poole and the Westman Naturalists as we look through each species in turn, learn about its ecology, where to find it, and the tricks on how to identify each one in the field.

Tim Poole was born and raised in London, UK and studied Zoology at Cardiff University. Following completion of his Masters at the University of Leeds he spent 18 months in the south of France working on European Roller conservation and research and 6 years coordinating the Scottish recovery program for the Eurasian Capercaillie. He moved to Manitoba with his family in 2014 and coordinated the Important Bird Area Program and Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative from 2015 and 2019. Since September 2019 Tim has worked for the Wildlife Branch at the Province of Manitoba as a Species at Risk Biologist focusing on Manitoba’s bird populations.

This is a hybrid event! Tim will be joining us via Zoom, but we’ll still be meeting in person! Feel free to come in person to socialize with your fellow Westman Naturalists and see the talk, or join us via Zoom.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brodie Building Rm 3-47, Brandon University & Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

April 2023

Friday, Apr 14 2023

Can Birds Smell? Evidence for Odour-based Communication in Birds; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Can birds use smell to communicate and to evaluate potential mates? In this talk, Dr. Grieves will give a brief background on the possible origins of the myth that birds do not smell. Next, they will demonstrate the kinds of information that are available in bird body odour, using the humble Song Sparrow as a model. Finally, Leanne will share the results of some of their behavioural experiments performed to test whether birds use odour to make choices about the kinds of birds they want to hang around—and potentially mate—with.

Dr. Leanne Grieves (pronouns: they/them or she/her) is a biologist specializing in animal behaviour and communication. Originally from Manitoba, Leanne is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at McMaster University, focusing on understanding the factors that affect bird body odour and how smell affects birds’ social and reproductive behaviour.

This is a hybrid event! Leanne will be joining us via Zoom, but we’ll still be meeting in person! Feel free to come in person to socialize with your fellow Westman Naturalists and see the talk, or join us via Zoom.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brodie Building Rm 3-47, Brandon University & Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

March 2023

Thursday, Mar 23 2023

Species at Risk Spotlight: Red-headed Woodpeckers and Eastern Whip-poor-wills; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Red-headed Woodpeckers, known for their striking plumage, and Eastern Whip-poor-wills, known for their distinctive nighttime call, are two species at risk that breed within Manitoba Important Bird Areas (IBAs). Both of these special species are facing habitat loss and are the focus of the IBA Program’s Conservation Champions initiative, designed to protect important species at risk habitat. Join this talk to learn more about these birds and their interesting adaptations, the Manitoba IBA program, and how to get involved in species at risk conservation.

Marissa Berard is the program coordinator for the Manitoba Important Bird Areas Program and the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative.

This is a hybrid event! Feel free to come in person to meet Marissa and see the talk, or join us via Zoom.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brodie Building Rm 3-47, Brandon University & Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

February 2023

Friday, Feb 24 2023

Adventures in Field Biology; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join us to experience an evening in the life of a field biology technician, and learn about how an interest in nature can turn into the foundation of a career! Erica Alex will share photos, stories, and lessons learned from the wilds of Saskatchewan, including remote boreal forests and expansive grasslands.

Erica is working towards completing her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology at the University of Saskatchewan, and has completed two seasons as a field technician for Birds Canada. She grew up in Westman, and serves on the Westman Naturalist’s communications and speakers committees.

This is a hybrid event! Feel free to come in person to meet Erika and see the talk, or join us via Zoom.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brodie Building Rm 3-47, Brandon University & Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

January 2023

Friday, Jan 20 2023

450-million-year-old Animals of Manitoba; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

A number of places in Manitoba contain exceptional soft-bodied fossils. The animals preserved in these locations can teach us about the history of life on Earth. In this talk, we’ll join Micheal Cuggy to learn about these animals and how we find and collect them.

Michael Cuggy is an instructor in the Department of Geography, College of Arts and Science, at the University of Saskatchewan.

This is a hybrid event! Michael Cuggy will be joining us via Zoom, but we’ll still be meeting in person! Feel free to come in person to socialize with your fellow Westman Naturalists and see the talk, or join us via Zoom. For Zoom, please complete and submit this short form to sign-up. We will email out the Zoom link that evening.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brodie Building Rm 3-47, Brandon University & Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Monday, Jan 02 2023

Rivers Christmas Bird Count; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Started in 1900, Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) are North America’s longest running Citizen Science Project.

There are two ways to participate - for all or part of the day:

Feeder watcher - Count birds at your feeder
Field parties - Join one of our groups who will brave the outdoors to count as many birds as possible in assigned area within a 15-mile diameter circle

If you’d like to learn more about the counts, check out the Birds Canada CBC site. There are several counts in Westman listed there, including Minnedosa (date TBD) and Riding Mountain National Park (December 20th, ).

Westman Naturalists are organizing two counts this year, in Brandon and Rivers.

Time: All day
Location: Rivers

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

December 2022

Sunday, Dec 18 2022

Brandon Christmas Bird Count; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Started in 1900, Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) are North America’s longest running Citizen Science Project.

There are two ways to participate - for all or part of the day:

Feeder watcher - Count birds at your feeder
Field parties - Join one of our groups who will brave the outdoors to count as many birds as possible in assigned area within a 15-mile diameter circle

If you’d like to learn more about the counts, check out the Birds Canada CBC site. There are several counts in Westman listed there, including Minnedosa (date TBD) and Riding Mountain National Park (December 20th, ).

Westman Naturalists are organizing two counts this year, in Brandon and Rivers.

Time: All day
Location: Brandon

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Friday, Dec 09 2022

How COVID-19 Lockdowns Affected North America’s birds; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Covid lockdowns didn’t just affect humans. Join us at Brandon University where Dr. Koper will talk about her research on impacts of lockdowns on birds across North America, and what that tells as about changes we can make as a society to make our world more bird-friendly.

Dr. Nicola Koper is a professor of conservation biology in the Natural Resources Institute at the University of Manitoba.

This is a hybrid event! Feel free to come in person to meet Dr. Koper and see the talk, or join us via Zoom.

Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Brodie Building Rm 3-47, Brandon University & Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

November 2022

Friday, Nov 04 2022

Tropical Seas to Icy Glaciers: Geology and Glacial History of Southern MB; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join Dr. Alex Koiter at Brandon University on a trip through time and discover ancient tropical seas (100 – 66 million years ago), towering glaciers (100 – 10 thousand years ago), and dramatic floods (last 100 years). Together we will learn about the natural history of the unique landscapes found in southern Manitoba, exploring a range landscape features from sand dunes and beaches to escarpments and deltas to eskers and moraines. Buckle up for the ride!

Dr. Alex Koiter is a professor of geomorphology in the Department of Geography and Environment at Brandon University.

This is our first hybrid event! Feel free to come in person to meet Dr. Koiter and see the talk, or join us via Zoom.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brodie Building Rm 3-47, Brandon University & Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

September 2022

Sunday, Sep 25 2022

Whitewater Lake Bird Blitz; Hosted by Manitoba IBA Program

Join Westman Naturalists members and others for a great morning of birding at Whitewater Lake. We will be counting shorebirds - but there will be lots of other species there as well, hopefully good numbers of ducks, geese, raptors and sandhill cranes.

Support bird conservation in Manitoba by participating in our citizen science monitoring of Whitewater Lake. Whitewater Lake is a premier destination in Manitoba for shorebirds, and a wide variety of other birds. Carpooling from Winnipeg or Brandon may be available. This is a free event suitable for all skill levels.

Time: 8:30 AM
Location: Whitewater Lake

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Sunday, Sep 18 2022

Hawk Watch; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Come and count hawks as they migrate South on Saturday morning. The view point is a marvelous spot overlooking the Assiniboine Valley, North of Virden. Our hawk watch is a regular, yearly event and is part of a North America wide effort to count migrating raptors. We usually see numerous birds floating by as they head South.

We will meet at 8am in Brandon, the site is about 1 hour from Brandon, or you can travel directly to the site.

Don’t worry if your hawk ID skills need work, there will be plenty of “experts” there to help. They usually learnt at past hawk watches :)

Please bring a LAWN-CHAIR if you have one - we are at one spot for a few hours. Also snacks, coffee etc as needed… AND of course binoculars and a scope if you have one. Bring your bird book too, if you have one :)

Hawk-watching will probably last until just after lunch or thereabouts.

After the watch you can go home, or join us in taking a detour to see what Oak Lake has to offer in the way of birds.

There is a limit of 15 for this outing. We are recommending distancing; as well as no sharing of optics or food for this event.

Time: 9:00 AM
Location: Assiniboine Valley, North of Virden

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Thursday, Sep 15 2022

Birding Walk at Riverbank Discovery Centre; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join the Westman Naturalists for an evening walk of bird watching and enjoying nature. This outing is open to those of all levels of skill and enthusiasm. Those with a budding interest in birds are invited to join us for a fun and informative walk. Fall migration is well underway, and the Riverbank Discovery Centre has been host to some good birds lately. This is a great opportunity to see migrating Warblers, Vireos, and Sparrows. Shorebirds and Herons have also been present at the various ponds.

The walk will take place on maintained trails, and will be generally easy. Please wear appropriate footwear and clothing for outdoor activity. Watching birds is made much more enjoyable by binoculars, please bring a pair if you have them, a pair might be available for loan if you do not own any.

This outing is open to everyone. Registration for this event is not required, but does allow us to contact you in the case of changes to the outing and helps us better prepare.

Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Riverbank Discovery Centre

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Saturday, Sep 10 2022

Red-headed Woodpecker Blitz at Kinosota-Leifur IBA; Hosted by Manitoba IBA Program

Manitoba IBA are looking for volunteers to help us count the Endangered Red-headed Woodpecker in Kinosota-Leifur IBA, located on the west side of Lake Manitoba. Lunch and refreshments will be provided at the end of the morning, and carpooling can be arranged, when possible.

More details and a poster can be found here.

Time: 8:00 AM
Location: Kinosota-Leifur IBA

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists

August 2022

Tuesday, Aug 23 2022

Birding for Beginners; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Come learn the basics of birding in a fun and relaxed environment with the Westman Naturalists. This outing is geared towards those brand new to birding, or for novices wanting to to identify more birds. We will walk the grounds of the Riverbank Discovery Centre and cover how to identify birds, keeping list records, available resources for improving your birding experience, and any other questions the group might have. With Fall migration just beginning, this is a great time to start your birding journey, or improve on your birding skills.

We hope to have some spare binoculars, but we strongly recommend that you bring a pair of binoculars with you for this outing, if you have them, Bug protection will also be useful.

Trip Difficulty: Easy

This outing is open to birders of all ages.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Riverbank Discovery Centre

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Sunday, Aug 21 2022

Botany and Birding at Noble Lake; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Summer may be winding down but there are still birds and plants to be seen and enjoyed. Join the Westman Naturalists on Sunday, August 21st for a botany and birding walk at Noble Lake. We will walk through the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation property along the west side of the Lake to see late blooming wildflowers and grasses in the tallgrass prairie there. For those interested in birding, this area and other points around the Lake offer good birding. If you are lucky you might spot the pair of Trumpeter Swans seen on the Lake earlier in August.

Noble Lake is about 45 minutes southeast of Brandon and 15 minutes south of Wawanesa. Bring your apps, bird and plant books, binoculars, cameras, etc. Don’t forget to wear appropriate clothing and footwear. A spotting scope may come in handy for the birds on the lake.

Trip Leader: Glennis Lewis Trip Difficulty: This outing involves walking on mowed paths through grasslands and rough paths through forested areas. The terrain is mostly flat and the trails are approximately 3 km in distance. Birding locations involve parking and standing along a gravel road where there is occasional traffic.

Time: 9:00 AM
Location: Nobel Lake

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

July 2022

Sunday, Jul 31 2022

River Piracy! The Capture of the Souris River; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Come and join Dr. Alex Koiter on a nature walk through the Souris River Bend Wildlife Management Area and learn about the natural history of this region. In addition to leaning about the physical landscape, we will have the opportunity to walk through both woodlands and prairie where we can hope to see a range of plant and animal species.

Trip details: We will meet at the trailhead at 10am on Sunday July 31st. It is approximately a 40 min drive from Brandon and the last 15km of driving is on gravel roads. Directions to the trailhead can be found here: https://goo.gl/maps/bMEdUpirotdTLVdf6. There is no parking lot so please use caution when parking along the side of the road.

Trip difficulty: This outing involves walking along a well established, but uneven, trail. A good pair of walking shoes, sunscreen, bug protection, water, and a snack are strongly recommended. The walk will be approximately 3hrs in duration and 4km in length.

To register please fill out our online form by 5pm Saturday July 30th (the day before)

We will email out a confirmation on Saturday evening, and let you know of any changes due to weather etc.

What is River Piracy? River piracy, also known as river capture, is an event where a river is diverted from its original channel into a neighbouring river. There are lots of different processes that can result in river piracy including erosion, damming by glacial ice or landslides, glacial retreat, or tectonic movement. The Souris River begins in Saskatchewan and flows southeast into south North Dakota and loops back into Manitoba. Approximately 20 km southeast of Wawanesa the Souris River takes a sharp 90 degree turn and joins the Assiniboine River east of Brandon. It wasn’t always like this as the Souris used to continue to flow southeast in the Pembina Valley back into North Dakota. What changed the course of the Souris River? A tributary of the Assiniboine River eroded a channel through the Tiger Hills moraine and “captured” the Souris River and diverted the water into the Assiniboine River abandoning its original channel.

Time: 10:00 AM
Location: Souris River Bend Wilderness Management Area

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Friday, Jul 15 2022

Evening nature walk and tour of the Assiniboine Food Forest; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

We’ll join Dave Barnes at the Assiniboine Food forest in East Brandon for an evening nature walk and tour to learn more about our local food forest!

We’ll meet at 1735 Rosser East.

Go past the Green Spot, keep to the right as you pass a 2-story house, then enter the woods at the rural mailbox. You can park at there on the road, or back at the Green Spot.

Time: 5:30 PM
Location: Assiniboine Food Forest

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

June 2022

Sunday, Jun 19 2022

IBA - Grassland Bird Blitz; Hosted by Manitoba IBA Program

Join the IBA to count grassland birds (species at risk) in the unique habitat of mixed grass prairie in Southwestern Manitoba. Lunch will be provided at the end of the morning.

Time: 5:30 AM
Location: Southwestern Manitoba

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Sunday, Jun 12 2022

A Sunday Nature Walk at Lake Clementi - Trying Out Apps to Enhance a Nature Experience; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Lake Clementi, a small lake in the Brandon Hills, is alive with bird song any morning in June. But now, with the leaves on the trees, it is a real test of any birder’s ability to identify what those birds are. So how can the Merlin app help? Join the Westman Naturalists for a stroll along Lake Clementi on Sunday, June 12, to try out your skills at bird song identification. If you haven’t used the Merlin app before, this is your chance to give it a try (or just rely on your ears and eyes to tell you what birds are singing). We’ll also show how iNaturalist or Seek can be used to help identify any other plants, insects or animals we encounter.

Depending on time and birds seen, we might investigate other locations in the Brandon Hills. Bring your apps, bird and plant books, binoculars, cameras, etc. Don’t forget to wear appropriate clothing and footwear. A spotting scope may come in handy as there are often birds on the lake.

Trip Leaders: Carson Rogers and Glennis Lewis

Trip Difficulty: This outing involves walking along a gravel road where there is occasional traffic. Other locations are rough trails. Be aware that you may find wood ticks on you during and after the trip.

Time: 9:00 AM
Location: Lake Clementi

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Friday, Jun 10 2022

Rivers Summer Bird Count; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

In January the Westman Naturalists revived the Rivers Christmas Bird Count. This event will revive another tradition - a summer count using the same circle as the Xmas count. We should get many more species than in January!!

Join us if you’d like to explore part of the Circle around Rivers to see how many birds you can see and count, and other nature you can observe. All levels of skill are welcome, we’ll help you learn!=

Time: All day
Location: Rivers

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Sunday, Jun 05 2022

Brandon Hills; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join Alex Koiter and the Westman Naturalists in the Brandon Hills for a unique educational experience. Hiking to the top of the Bald Hills will give you excellent views of the surroundings landscape and we will learn about about the glacial history and geography of the Brandon area and beyond. Along the way we will walk through different habitats including oak forest and grasslands where we will see a variety of flora and fauna.

This will be a half-day outdoor event starting at 10:30am, without amenities, so please prepare with water, food and appropriate clothing.

Trip Difficulty: The Brandon Hills are several kilometers south of Brandon and this trip includes driving on gravel roads. The Bald Hills hike is steep with some rough terrain, both uphill and downhill, please bring appropriate footwear. There is a possibility of wet areas, poison ivy and ticks.

Time: 10:30 AM
Location: Brandon Hills

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Saturday, Jun 04 2022

IBA - Whitewater Lake Bird Blitz; Hosted by Manitoba IBA Program

Support bird conservation in Manitoba by participating in the IBA’s citizen science monitoring of Whitewater Lake. Whitewater Lake is a premier destination in Manitoba for shorebirds, and a wide variety of other birds. Carpooling from Winnipeg or Brandon is available. This is a free event suitable for all skill levels.

Time: 8:30 AM
Location: Whitewater Lake

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists

May 2022

Sunday, May 29 2022

IBA - Southwestern Manitoba Shorebird ID Workshop; Hosted by Manitoba IBA Program

POSTPONED

Join the IBA on a visit in southwestern Manitoba for a practical look at how to identify shorebirds in their breeding plumage. The location in southwestern Manitoba is to be announced depending on where shorebirds are gathering and accessible. Possible locations include Elton Road Wetland, Griswold Marsh or Oak Lake/ Plum Lake IBA. Spotting scopes will be available to use. Carpooling from Winnipeg or Brandon is available. This is a free event suitable for all skill levels.

Time: 8:30 AM
Location: Southwestern Manitoba

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Sunday, May 22 2022

Spring Warbler Walk; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

One of the best things about spring is the warbler migration. These tiny colorful birds sweep through the Westman area, often briefly seen high above in the forest canopy. You are invited to join the Glennis Lewis and the Westman Naturalists for a morning outing to Souris to look for spring warblers, and other migrants, starting in Victoria Park. This is an opportunity to test your warbler identification skills and see how many warbler species you can find. Colin Blyth will be on hand to help with identification.

Depending on time, and birds seen, we may investigate other locations in Souris. Bring your bird books, apps, binoculars, cameras etc., and don’t forget to wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

Trip Difficulty: This outing will involve walking on the Trails in Victoria Park in Souris, which can be rough with tree roots and involve some hills. Caution is needed in walking along the steep cliffs along the north side of the park.

Time: 9:00 AM
Location: Souris

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Saturday, May 14 2022

Crocus adventure to Steep Rock; Hosted by Native Orchid Conservation Inc.

Local naturalist Megan Hamill is hosting this event via NOCI. Carpooling from Brandon will be available for this event for WN members interested in attending.

Join NOCI May 14th on a grand adventure through the Interlake to find the most photogenic crocus in the province. Steep Rock is a small community in the Interlake with amazing views and unique landscapes, worth the drive! We will spend a few hours photographing spring wildflowers, hiking the quarry looking for snakes and fossils, and maybe having a rock skipping contests on the amazing pebble lake line.

What to know: Steep Rock is a 3-4 hour drive for most people, please carefully look at the route before registering. Steep Rock has no amenities, so please gas up and bring your own lunch. We aim to be at Steep Rock approximately 1pm. This date is subject to change as we see how the blooming season progresses.

NOCI members should be up to date on their dues, if not please message nocipayments@gmail.com to update. New comers to the group may attend 1 event without membership to check us out! The event cost is $10.

To register and to receive instructions and updates please message nocitours@gmail.com.

https://facebook.com/events/s/crocus-adventure-to-steep-rock/824731838918840/

Time: All Day
Location: Steep Rock

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Friday, May 13 2022

Warbler Identification with Christian Artuso; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

The Parulidae family (Wood-warblers) are a group of small, fast moving, and often very colourful birds. Over 20 species regularly occur in Manitoba, many of which have distinct male and female plumages that change over the course of the year. This makes them challenging to identify, even for seasoned birders. Christian Artuso will present on the warblers found in Manitoba, and provide tips and tricks for how to identify them.

Many will know Christian for his major contributions to birding and conservation in Manitoba, including coordinating the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas. Christian now works as a biologist for the Migratory Bird Conservation Unit of Environment and Climate Change Canada, in Ottawa.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

April 2022

Friday, Apr 29 2022

Brandon City Nature Challenge Outing; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Westman Naturalists is partnering with Brandon City Nature Challenge 2022 to bring you an educational evening of nature and technology. We encourage everyone to learn how to become a citizen scientist in your own neighbourhood and with your phone.

The City Nature Challenge is a global competition to engage citizens in science by uploading the most observations of nature between April 29th-May 2nd. Using the app iNaturalist, anyone, any age can easily learn to contribute data that helps scientists and conservation efforts around the world.

On Friday April 29th @5:30pm at Brandon’s Discovery Centre join naturalist Megan Hamill and the Westman Naturalists to learn how to use iNaturalist, where to find wildlife, and how to identify what we see. There is no experience necessary, just an interest in nature and a cellphone.

If you are new to iNaturalist, consider downloading the app and creating a profile prior to arriving at the park by using this link: https://www.inaturalist.org/

To learn more about City Nature Challenge: https://citynaturechallenge.org/

This is an outdoor, mask-optional event.

Time: 5:30 PM
Location: Brandon Discovery Centre

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Friday, Apr 29 2022

Prairie reptiles; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Details TBD - Candace Park, Brandon University Master’s candidate, will share details of her research on prairie retiles.

CANCELLED

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Friday, Apr 01 2022

Brandon iNaturalist City Nature Challenge; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Sherry Punak-Murphy will share with us aspects of the global iNaturalist City Nature Challenge, how to install and use the iNaturalist app and suggest areas in the City of Brandon that you can go and explore and find wildlife. Your contributions to the City Nature Challenge-Brandon will be used by scientists in the area for years to come! Also, we may have the added bonus of having more observations than the Winnipeg group if we all participate :)

Sherry Punak-Murphy is the chairperson of the Bee City Brandon Committee. She is an insect enthusiast and native plant lover and considers herself a prairie gal. Her day job is the Range Biologist at CFB Shilo but her passion is in educating others in the native species that can be found here in Westman. She is a firm believer in Citizen Science and is always encouraging others to make their own observations using the iNaturalist app.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

March 2022

Friday, Mar 11 2022

Grassland Conservation and Threats Facing Prairie Birds; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Agriculture has an important role to play in solving the biodiversity and climate crises. Birds Canada is committed to finding solutions that are mutually beneficial for wildlife, the environment, farmers and ranchers, and society at large. As the Grassland Conservation Manager for Birds Canada Ian Cook works at the interface of agriculture and conservation to find solutions to conserve grassland ecosystems and integrate birds and biodiversity into our working landscapes.

Ian Cook will be speaking about some of the threats facing prairie birds, work at Birds Canada on the Prairies to better understand and conserve our grassland birds, and the role that we all play both as producers or consumers in helping to conserve our prairie birds.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

February 2022

Friday, Feb 18 2022

Ecology of Invasive Wild Pigs on the Canadian Prairies; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Dr. Ryan Brook is from the University of Saskatchewan and adjunct professor at the University of Manitoba. He will be sharing results from his team’s research on invasive wild pigs from a global, national, and Spruce Woods specific perspective, drawing on information from GPS collaring, citizen science, and social science.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

December 2021

Sunday, Dec 19 2021

Brandon Christmas Bird Count; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Get ready for the 41st Annual Brandon Christmas Bird Count!

We aim to count as many birds as possible within a 7.5mile radius of 18th and Victoria. There are two ways to participate on the day - stay home and count birds at your feeder for as long as you want; OR be a member of a field party and count in a specified area in the “count circle”. Either way you should sign-up ahead of time.

If you’d like to participate or help organize the count, please contact us!

There are other counts in the area e.g. Minnedosa or Spruce Woods. To learn more about the Christmas Bird Count please check out the Birds Canada site.

Time: All day
Location: Brandon

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

November 2021

Friday, Nov 26 2021

Do prairie wetlands support declining aerial insectivores? Tales of tree swallows breeding in agricultural landscapes; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Dr. Lisha Berzins joins us to discuss aerial insectivores and prairie wetland conservation!

Aerial insectivores (swallows, swifts, nightjars, and flycatchers) are steeply declining in parts of their range and one potential driver of these declines is agricultural intensification. Tree swallows feed primarily on insects that emerge from aquatic habitats and so the loss or drainage of wetlands associated with agricultural intensification may impact tree swallows through their insect food supply. In this talk, Dr. Berzins will use long-term data (>28 years from the St. Denis National Wildlife Area) and field experiments to demonstrate how prairie wetlands influence the ability of tree swallows to breed successfully and produce high-quality young with greater survival prospects, and reduce aquatic insect food available to them. Ultimately, she will discuss whether retaining wetlands in agricultural cropland can offset the negative effect of agricultural intensification on tree swallows, and likely other ecologically similar species.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

October 2021

Friday, Oct 29 2021

You snooze, you lose: the dynamic world of woodpecker nest cavities at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Dr. Elena West will discuss her research on red-headed woodpeckers, and her Woodpecker Cavity Cam project that began in 2019 and recently launched via Zooniverse in an effort to augment ongoing research and fill additional knowledge gaps about this species. Dr. West and her team are working to learn more about red-headed woodpecker nesting ecology and behaviour, and the many other animals that use and compete for the cavities these woodpeckers create. Dr. West will also discuss opportunities for volunteers to participate in this research project.

Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

July 2021

Friday, Jul 16 2021

From Burrowing Owls to Buffalograss: Manitoba’s species at risk and what you can do to help; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Protecting and recovering species at risk is a critical part of conserving Manitoba’s biodiversity.

The Westman Naturalists are pleased to present Tim Poole, Species at Risk Biologist with the Manitoba government, who will describe what species are considered to be at risk in the province and how the provincial government works to protect them.

Tim will also speak to how we all play an important role in determining population trends for species at risk. If you are interested in native plants and animals, learn how you can help ensure the survival of species at risk - species as diverse and fascinating as Burrowing Owls and Bufflalograss.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

May 2021

Saturday, May 08 2021

Global Big Day; Hosted by eBird/Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Join thousands of people from all around the world (and some here in Western Manitoba) to record the birds you see on Sunday May 8, and submit them to eBird. Last year we recorded 40 species close to home in Western Manitoba and a total of over 80 species counting all lists in the area from eBird. More details on the Global Big Day can be found here.

Time: All Day
Location: Everywhere

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Friday, May 07 2021

Spring Bird ID with Christian Artuso; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

We are all a little rusty at bird identification when spring migration starts. Hopefully, after listening to bird song recordings and studying field guides, we are soon back at our peak skills in naming the new arrivals. But, let’s face it, some birds are just flat out difficult to identify at any time.

The Westman Naturalists are pleased to offer a workshop with Dr. Christian Artuso, (one of our favourite bird experts) where all your burning questions about difficult spring and summer birds will be answered. Want to know if that was a Golden or juvenile Bald Eagle you just saw? House or purple finch? Christian can give you some tips to make identification easier. Is that an Eastern or Western Meadowlark singing on the fence post? Christian can help you differentiate between the two.

To be sure to get your questions answered, please email your questions about bird identification to us at westman.naturalists@gmail.com by Monday May 3rd. We will forward the questions to Christian, and he will answer them in our Webinar on May 7th.

This workshop will be interactive… a chance to learn from Christian for all birders, expert and beginner. And remember, every question is a good question.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

April 2021

Tuesday, Apr 27 2021

How We Track Birds; Hosted by Manitoba IBA Program

Join Paula Grieef (founder of Delta Marsh Bird Observatory and Resident Naturalist at the Harry J. Enns Wetland Discovery Centre) for a discussion of why we mark birds, the methods used and some amazing migration journeys discovered through this research.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Online

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Tuesday, Apr 20 2021

Shorebirds of Manitoba; Hosted by Manitoba IBA Program

Expert birder Dr. Christian Artuso (ECCC Wildlife Biologist) will lead a great webinar to prepare us for spring migration of shorebirds in Manitoba. Suitable for birders of all skill levels. Stay tuned for in person identification opportunities with Manitoba IBA near Winnipeg and in southwestern Manitoba (COVID depending).

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Online

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists

March 2021

Friday, Mar 26 2021

The Canadian Bat Box Project and White-Nose Syndrome; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Bats are amazing! But these animals, so critical to our environment and economy, are declining in Canada and abroad. Join bat expert, Karen Vanderwolf from Trent University who will teach us about the wonders of bats, and how their survival is threatened by a deadly fungal disease, White Nose Syndrome. Karen will also explain how the Canadian Bat Box Program is working to conserve bats so our night skies will remain full of these fascinating flying mammals.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

February 2021

Wednesday, Feb 24 2021

Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation (MHHC) Webinar; Hosted by Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation

This 45-minute webinar will provide an opportunity to learn about MHHC’s recent changes. After being a Crown corporation for the past 35 years, MHHC is now transitioning to be a charitable, non-governmental organization. An update on what this means for MHHC, their partners, and their conservation work.

Microsoft Teams meeting: Join on your computer or mobile app Click here to join the meeting

Or call in (audio only) +1 204-815-6141,,221805066# Canada, Winnipeg; Phone Conference ID: 221 805 066#

Time: 12:00 PM
Location: Online

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Friday, Feb 05 2021

Wild Turkeys: A Year in the Life; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Wild turkeys are a common sight in many Ontario landscapes. However, this was not always the case. Turkeys were hunted to extinction in Ontario in the early 1900s and were only reintroduced to the province in the 1980s when wildlife managers traded moose, otter and grouse for turkeys from several US states. Since their reintroduction, Ontario’s wild turkey population has grown rapidly.

Unlike migratory bird species, turkeys stay in Ontario year-round with their behaviour and sociality changing with the seasons. Jenn Baici, a PhD candidate at Trent University, will be discussing the history of wild turkeys in Ontario, how turkey behaviour changes throughout the year, and what this means for her research. She welcomes any and all turkey questions. You can visit www.jennbaici.weebly.com to learn more about research projects she has been involved with.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

December 2020

Sunday, Dec 20 2020

Brandon Christmas Bird Count; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

If you live in or close to Brandon (within 7.5miles of 18th & Victoria) and feed birds or have a “birdy” yard we’d love you to join us as a “feeder watcher” counting birds on Sunday December 20th, as part of the 40th Annual Brandon Christmas Bird Count. This is part of a North America wide effort to do a census of birds around Christmas.

It’s easy, all you do is sign-up, then check your birds during the day, for as long as you like. Then let us know where you are, what you see, and how long you looked. Just record the maximum number of each species you see at any one time, to avoid overcounting. If you aren’t sure what bird you are seeing, just contact us and we’ll help you out.

Time: All day
Location: Your home

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

November 2020

Friday, Nov 20 2020

Penguins and petrels: studying seabird communities in the Antarctic; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

The cold, turbulent seas of the Southern Ocean support some of the most diverse seabird communities on the planet. Dr. Michael Schrimpf will talk about his experiences traveling to Antarctica to study the penguins, petrels, shags, and other birds that call this harsh environment home. He will discuss how he and his colleagues collect data on breeding distributions, why we find different species where we do, and the similarities and differences to the ecology of our local birds. Ever think of traveling to the Antarctic? Learn how doing so can aid in research on Southern Ocean birds. Sign up via this form!

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

October 2020

Monday, Oct 05 2020

Cultural Evolution in Bird Song; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

While many groups of birds instinctively ‘know’ and can produce their normal adult vocalizations without training, Passerines are one of the few groups in which juveniles must learn their species-specific song from an adult tutor. This reliance on song learning results in both the development of regional dialects, but also the potential for songs to evolve and change over time within populations. We will discuss the potential of this in relation to our recent work looking at continent-wide shifts in songs among white-throated sparrows.

Presented by Ken Otter (University of Northern BC) and Scott Ramsay (Wilfrid Laurier University).

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

September 2020

Tuesday, Sep 22 2020

Shorebirds on the Move; Hosted by Nature Conservance of Canada

Join the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Important Bird Areas Manitoba, and Westman Naturalists to learn about Shorebird Conservation in Manitoba.

Shorebirds are a diverse group of migratory birds, a few species of which have some of the longest migration distances in the feathered world. This group of birds is strongly associated with shallow water habitats, such as those found on beaches or shorelines of lakes, shallow wetlands and in flooded fields or grasslands, where they forage for food in the mud and sand. Many follow the “Central Flyway” migratory route that passes through the Prairies.

Learn how International Shorebird Survey volunteers count large flocks of shorebirds, and listen to migratory stories that were tracked through the Motus Wildlife Tracking System!

Time: 12:00 PM
Location: Online

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Wednesday, Sep 16 2020

Burrowing Owls; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Wildlife biologist Alexandra Froese will focus on Burrowing Owls and the Manitoba Burrowing Owl Recovery Programs effort to conserve them in Manitoba. Alex will be assisted on camera by her two education owls, Koko and Bindi.
This will be an online Zoom meeting, to sign-up please complete this short online form. Sign-up soon as we will advertising more widely on the weekend, and space is limited!

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

August 2020

Saturday, Aug 29 2020

Whitewater Lake IBA Blitz; Hosted by Manitoba IBA Program

Manitoba IBA is running a blitz to find and count as many birds as possible at Whitewater Lake IBA, this will provide valuable data for conservation. This event will involve an early start (9am at Whitewater) and a significant amount of driving. The blitz will involve counting sandpipers - so a telescope is a very useful piece of equipment; though Whitewater is great for all sorts of birds. COVID-19 protocols will be in place, and snacks will be provided.

Time: 9:00 AM
Location: Whitewater

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Wednesday, Aug 26 2020

Fall Warbler Identification in Manitoba; Hosted by Manitoba IBA Program

This is a chance to learn more about those tricky fall warblers. They are on their way, in fact some have been seen already. To register for this free webinar, please email Amanda at iba@naturemanitoba.ca

Time: 1:00 PM
Location: Online

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists

July 2020

Saturday, Jul 18 2020

Waggle Springs; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join us at another NCC property, this time East of Brandon. We will find a very nice example of prairie, there will be butterflies, birds and of course grasses and flowers, and maybe a skink or two. For those who wish to explore further there are a number of other interesting habitats to investigate.

This will be a morning trip, Waggle Springs is about half hour drive from Brandon, North of the Assiniboine River. Afterwards there will be an opportunity to visit a few other areas of prairie on the way back to Brandon.

Naturalists of all skill levels are welcome. However, please be aware that there are no groomed trails to walk on. Please wear appropriate footwear. Also, poison ivy is widespread, and we can expect ticks and mosquitos. Please plan to bring:

  • Binoculars / camera
  • Bird book or app
  • Suitable clothing and footwear
  • Water, and a lunch.
  • Insect repellent, sunscreen and a hat.

To sign up for this trip go to this link
Please read our protocols, add your info. and submit. We will email you with details of the outing if you are in the “15”, or details of a second outing if this one is full.

Time: All day
Location: East of Brandon

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Saturday, Jul 04 2020

Lauder Sandhills; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Join us for a trip to the NCC property at the Lauder Sandhills to check out the rare and fascinating Western Spiderwort - hopefully in flower. There will also be a chance to see lark sparrows, towhees, cacti and snakes…. if they don’t see you first.

This will be a morning outing, with an option to explore in the region following our visit to the Sandhills.

The Sandhills are some distance from Brandon, about 1 1/4 hour drive. There are moderately steep sand hills in the area to climb or you can keep to the flatter terrain.

Naturalists of all skill levels are welcome. However, please be aware that there are no groomed trails to walk on. Please wear appropriate footwear. Also, poison ivy is widespread, and we can expect ticks and mosquitos. Please plan to bring:

  • Binoculars / camera
  • Bird book or app
  • Suitable clothing and footwear
  • Water, and a lunch.
  • Insect repellent, sunscreen and a hat.

To sign up for this trip go to this link.
Please read our protocols, add your info and submit.
We will email you with details of the outing if you are in the “15”, or details of a second outing if this one is full. and sign-up to follow.

Time: All day
Location: Lauder Sandhills

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

June 2020

Wednesday, Jun 24 2020

Brandon Hills; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Come and learn about the formation of the Brandon Hills and the glacial history of the surrounding area from Dr. Alex Koiter (Department of Geography & Environment, Brandon University). This walk will involve a steep walk on uneven terrain to the top of the bald hills on the south-eastern portion of the Brandon Hills. Sturdy footwear, water, and insect repellent is strongly recommended.

We will meet the evening of Wednesday June 24th. To sign up go to this link

We will email you with details of the outing if you are in the “15”, or details of a second outing if this one is full.

Time: Evening
Location: Brandon Hills

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Wednesday, Jun 17 2020

Swallows Evening @ Discovery Centre; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Our first outing of 2020 will be at the Riverbank Discovery Centre. We will be checking out the various swallows that live there - cliff swallows under the bridge, and purple martins and tree swallows in their houses. You’ll have the option to stay put in your lawn chair or come for a walk. We will also briefly demonstrate and answer questions on taking a list for eBird and how to count birds for your lists - a phone loaded with the eBird App will be handy for this.

To sign up go to this link… Please read the protocol, add your info. and submit.

We will email you with details of the outing if you are in the “15”, or details of a second outing if this one is full.

Time: Evening
Location: Riverbank Discovery Centre

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

May 2020

Tuesday, May 26 2020

Wetland Bird Identification with Paula Greif; Hosted by Manitoba IBA Program

Part of Manitoba IBA’s webinar series: Paula is resident naturalist at Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre. To register for this free event, please email iba@naturemanitoba.ca

Time: 1:00 PM
Location: Online

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Saturday, May 23 2020

Great Canadian Birdathon; Hosted by Bird Studies Canada

This Birdathon is a major fund-raising event for Bird Studies Canada, and a chance to get out for some serious birding - whilst keeping safe of course. Two local groups have had a traditional friendly rivalry, both involve Westman Naturalists.

The “Ageing Turkeys’ will be birding in May, if you are interested in joining or learning more about this group please contact Buzz Crowston at vcrowsto@mts.net.

COVID-19 can’t stop Erica and the “Westman Willets”, the Birdathon must go on! This year, our team of enthusiastic birders is once again participating in the Great Canadian Birdathon, raising money in support of avian research and conservation in Canada. Traditionally we would all pile into a car and embark on a grand adventure, travelling all over south western Manitoba, finding as many bird species as possible within a 24 hour period. It is what we birders call a “big day”.

However with the current conditions surrounding COVID-19, our plans have had to change. In 2020, we will hold a different kind of big day, one where we all bird together, while being miles apart. On May 23 we will each bird in our own backyards, and at the end of the day we will come together, virtually, and share our lists. It’ll take some good luck and good birding to beat our travelling total of 130 species, but we’ll give it our best shot!

We hope this years birdathon will remind others that there is nature to be found, and enjoyed, in our own backyards.

Please consider donating to support the important efforts of Bird Studies Canada and the Delta Marsh Bird Observatory. Visit the Westman Willets team page at CanadaHelps.

Tune into the Westman Naturalists Facebook page on May 23, to follow along with updates by the Westman Willets on their big day!

Time: All day
Location: Online

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Wednesday, May 20 2020

Sparrow ID with Christian Artuso; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Brush up on your sparrow ID skills!

This will be an online Zoom meeting, to sign-up please RSVP via this short online form. On May 18, we will send out the Zoom link, instructions and the password to everyone who has signed-up.

Christian has offered to help out with IDs and tips…. so if you have photos of “mystery sparrows” please email them to us at westman.naturalists@gmail.com

Thanks to Christian for helping us out!

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Online

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Wednesday, May 13 2020

Shorebird ID with Christian Artuso; Hosted by Manitoba IBA Program

Manitoba Important Bird Areas present a spring webinar on shorebird identification. To register for this free event, please email iba@naturemanitoba.ca. More info on the IBA webinar series is here.

Time: 1:00 PM
Location: Online

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Saturday, May 09 2020

Global Big Day; Hosted by eBird/Cornell Lab of Ornithology

This Global bird count is organized by Cornell and eBird, more info can be found here.

Participating is easy and free: 1. Get an eBird/Cornell Lab of Ornithology account. 2. Watch birds on 9 May 3. Enter the birds you see and hear at eBird.org or on eBird Mobile.

Let’s try to have a good contribution from Western Manitoba!

Time: All day
Location: Everywhere

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists

March 2020

March 2020 Update

Regretfully, we need to advise you that the Westman Naturalists talk on Churchill is postponed until further notice.

We are following the lead of our host facility, Brandon University who have suspended classes and cancelled events for next week, and has ended all recreational programs for the rest of the semester. These precautionary measures are being taken to avoid bringing people together in groups and to help prevent and slow the spread of coronavirus. There is no reason to think that anyone on campus is at immediate risk, and there are no coronavirus or COVID-19 cases identified at Brandon University. For more details on BU’s plans please see their webpage.

Westman Naturalists will let you know via email or social media when we have more talks or events planned.

Cancelled Sunday, Mar 01 2020

Seasons of Churchill with Bonnie Chartier; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Come out to see and hear about the amazing flora and fauna of Churchill, Manitoba! Visitors from around the world flock to see polar bears up close in their tundra habitat. But there are many more fascinating things to experience throughout the seasons in this hotspot of biodiversity.

The Westman Naturalists are pleased to present Bonnie Charier who will lead you on this wild adventure. Bonnie has 25 years experience guiding for polar bears and birding trips in Churchill. She is one of the province’s top birders, and author of “A Birder’s Guide to Churchill”, a classic reference for birders visiting the Churchill area.

Time: 6:30 PM
Location: 4:47, Brodie Building, Brandon University

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

February 2020

Monday, Feb 10 2020

Canada’s Amazing Natural Areas - The Science and Politics; Hosted by Endangered Ecosystems Alliance

On Monday Feb 10th (7pm), there is a great presentation coming up at Brandon University! Join environmental activist Ken Wu of the Endangered Ecosystems Alliance and world renowned conservation biologist Dr. Reed Noss for informative and inspiring presentations on the science, geography, and politics of protecting nature in Canada.

See the Event on the Endangered Ecosystems Alliance Facebook page for more details.

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Brandon University

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists

January 2020

Friday, Jan 17 2020

Up Close and Personal with Manitoba Owls; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Come out and get up close and personal with a live owl! Learn about Manitoba owls with biologist and world owl expert Jim Duncan. Using a variety of media, personal owl impressions, owl parts and ‘puke’ (aka pellets), and Rusty (a female Long-eared Owl) Dr. Duncan will introduce you to the mysterious lives of these nocturnal creatures, including some new and fascinating research on Manitoba owls.

Since 2005 Jim and his owl colleagues have given over 450 owl presentations to over 21,000 people, from pre-school kids to retirees. If you have not seen this presentation come out and see why it continues to be a much sought-after experience. Bring your camera or video camera and ‘capture’ Rusty as she flies over your head!

Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Room 1:52 (1st floor) Brodie Building, Brandon University

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

December 2019

Sunday, Dec 29 2019

Minnedosa Christmas Bird Count; Hosted by Erica Alex and CBC

Join tens of thousands of other birders across North America in this event and help contribute to our knowledge of winter bird distribution. Please contact Erica Alex for details or to sign-up. See Resources for CBC documents.

Time: All day
Location: Westman Region

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Friday, Dec 27 2019

Delta Marsh / Portage Plains Christmas Bird Count; Hosted by Cal Cuthbert and CBC

Join tens of thousands of other birders across North America in this event and help contribute to our knowledge of winter bird distribution. Please contact Cal Cuthbert for details or to sign-up. See Resources for CBC documents.

Time: All day
Location: Westman Region

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Monday, Dec 23 2019

Delta Marsh / Portage Plains Christmas Bird Count; Hosted by Cal Cuthbert and CBC

Join tens of thousands of other birders across North America in this event and help contribute to our knowledge of winter bird distribution. Please contact Cal Cuthbert for details or to sign-up. See Resources for CBC documents.

Time: All day
Location: Westman Region

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Tuesday, Dec 17 2019

Riding Mountain National Park Christmas Bird Count; Hosted by RMNP and CBC

Join tens of thousands of other birders across North America in this event and help contribute to our knowledge of winter bird distribution. Please contact Friends of RMNP (RMNP@mymts.net) for details or to sign-up. See Resources for CBC documents.

Time: All day
Location: Westman Region

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Sunday, Dec 15 2019

Portage la Prairie Christmas Bird Count; Hosted by Cal Cuthbert and CBC

Join tens of thousands of other birders across North America in this event and help contribute to our knowledge of winter bird distribution. Please contact Cal Cuthbert for details or to sign-up. See Resources for CBC documents.

Time: All day
Location: Westman Region

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Sunday, Dec 15 2019

Brandon and Area Christmas Bird Count; Hosted by Westman Naturalists and CBC

Join tens of thousands of other birders across North America in this event and help contribute to our knowledge of winter bird distribution.

You can count birds at your home feeder or join us in a field party for all or part of the day. A pot-luck dinner and compiling session will be held afterwards at the Riverbank Discovery Centre (doors open at 5:30pm). See Resources for CBC documents.

All participants and Westman Naturalists are welcome to join us at the pot-luck… just bring something tasty!

Time: All day
Location: Westman Region

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Saturday, Dec 14 2019

Glenboro-Spruce Woods Christmas Bird Count; Hosted by Lorelie Mitchell and CBC

Join tens of thousands of other birders across North America in this event and help contribute to our knowledge of winter bird distribution. Please contact Lorelie Mitchell for details or to sign-up. See Resources for CBC documents.

Time: All day
Location: Westman Region

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Friday, Dec 06 2019

Who’s Who at your Winter bird feeder; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Presented by Gwyn and Gillian Richards Just in time for the Christmas Bird Count! Come along for a photographic tour of the usual winter visitors to Brandon bird feeders, plus a few rarer guests. Tips on how to attract various species, how to tell them apart and put a name to them all.

Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Room 4:47 (4th floor) Brodie Building, Brandon University.
(Across from the Healthy Living Centre, corner of Louise and 18th)

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

November 2019

Friday, Nov 15 2019

Reptiles and amphibians in Canada (and why you should care about them); Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Presented by Dr. James Paterson

Canada is home to 96 species of reptiles and amphibians. Join James for a photographic tour of some of the most unique species, their behaviours, and how researchers are learning how to prevent habitat loss, road mortality, and disease from causing these scaled and slimy critters to disappear.

Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Room 4:47 (4th floor) Brodie Building, Brandon University

Free parking is available on the street outside the building or in Lot 10 opposite. The Brodie Building is at Louise Ave and 18th Street (first building on the right as you turn West onto Louise Ave from 18th St. Map)

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

October 2019

Sunday, Oct 20 2019

Whitewater Lake; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

We will explore one of the best birding areas in the province, Whitewater IBA (Importan Bird Area), visiting several good birding spots around the lake. This is not a “Blitz” but we should see impressive numbers of ducks, geese and swans; plus other species.

Birding at Whitewater involves a fair amount of driving on dirt roads. There will probably also be a little (optional) walking.

Please bring:

  • Warm clothes
  • Suitable footwear (it may be wet)
  • Binoculars. camera and telescope if you have them
  • Lunch & snacks, plus coffee if you need it

Car-pooling We will meet at the SE corner of the Landmark Cinema parking lot at 8:00am (10 minutes before sunrise) to arrive at Whitewater at about 9:00am. We plan to be finished around 2pm, to return to Brandon by about 3pm.

Please email us if you’d like to attend, with whether you are travelling independently or will meet us in Brandon, and your cell number – so we can contact you if we have to cancel.

Time: 8:00 AM
Location: Westman Region

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

September 2019

Saturday, Sep 28 2019

Delta Marsh & Portage Plains. N of Portage; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Cal Cuthbert will guide us to find all that this great area north of Portage offers. Should be an excellent outing as Cal is an expert birder and guide and knows the area very well.

To car-pool, we will meet at 7:30am in Brandon, please email the Westman Naturalists to confirm your attendance and get details regarding the car-pooling location.

On site, we will all meet at about 9:00am at Up The Creek Acres located 8 miles N of Portage on #240 then 2 miles E on #227. After crossing Portage Creek (which is well marked) take the first right (a road that goes south through a wooded area) for about 100m.

We will start with a walkabout on Cal’s property. He has a number of trails both in open “grassland” and riparian areas. His place is also a good place for washroom/coffee break before working our way to the Delta beach ridge. We’ll have a chance at both shorebirds and warblers/sparrows with an assortment of other birds as well.

Cal reminds everyone to bring lots of coffee and huge lunches; together with binoculars, camera and telescope if you have them; and clothing and shoes appropriate for the weather.

Please email us if you’d like to attend, with whether you are traveling independently or will meet us in Brandon, and your cell number – so we can contact you if we have to cancel.

Time: All day
Location: North of Portage

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Wednesday, Sep 25 2019

Introduction to Westman Nature; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

New to Westman? Interested in seeing some local nature and wildlife? Join the Westman Naturalists for a walk! Bring binoculars if you have them (we’ll have some to share) We hope to see:

  • Beavers
  • Songbirds
  • Ducks
  • And much more!

Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Riverbank Discovery Centre

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

August 2019

Saturday, Aug 24 2019

Whitewater Shorebird Blitz; Hosted by Westman Naturalists and Tim Poole from IBA

A chance to explore one of the best birding areas in Manitoba. We should see lots of shorebirds, and numerous other species - date and details to follow.

Time: All day
Location: Whitewater

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Wednesday, Aug 21 2019

East of Brandon Hills; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

An evening exploring Tom and Renee’s property - both woodland and grassland with a few km of trails. We will meet at 6:15pm in the south-east corner of the Landmark Cinemas parking lot for carpooling.

Time: 6:15 PM
Location: Brandon Hills

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Saturday, Aug 10 2019

Tallgrass Prairie in Westman?; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

The Westman Naturalists are pleased to offer a field trip to the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation property at Noble Lake, morning of Saturday August 10. This wonderful biologically diverse property is a 45 min drive from Brandon. It stretches along the west side of Noble Lake, and offers grasslands, deciduous forests and shrubby areas to explore. Grassland plant expert, Mae Elsinger, will be on hand to teach us how to identify grasses.

This field trip offers a great opportunity for birding and botanizing. And, anyone interested in canoeing or kayaking on the lake may do so. There are cottages on the east side of the lake, and motor boats are strictly prohibited.

If you wish extend your outing past the morning trip, you can stay on the property or explore other local areas such as the Souris River Bend Wildlife Management Area to the west of the lake.

Participants who wish to car pool from Brandon will leave at 8:00 am, to get to the site between 8:45 and 9:00 am. We will have some spaces for those who prefer not to drive. We will email directions for those who want to travel directly to the site… please register ahead of time.

Naturalists of all skill levels are welcome. There are mowed trails throughout much of the property. However, we may be heading off those trails. Please wear appropriate footwear. Also, poison ivy is widespread, and, yes, there are still a few ticks around. Please plan to bring:

  • Binoculars / camera
  • Bird book or app
  • Suitable clothing and footwear
  • Water, and a lunch.
  • Insect repellent, sunscreen and a hat.
  • A walking stick, if need be, however, there terrain is fairly level.

To help with our planning, please email the Westman Naturalists to let us know if you plan to attend this outing, together with whether you plan to join us in Brandon or at the site itself.

Time: 8:00 AM
Location: Nobel Lake

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Wednesday, Aug 07 2019

Assiniboine Food Forest; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Walk and talk with Dave Barnes. Ice-cream is optional :)

Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Crowes General Store (East end of Victoria Ave, past the Green Spot and round the corner.)

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information

July 2019

Wednesday, Jul 17 2019

Glacial History of Brandon Hills; Hosted by Westman Naturalists

Come and learn about the formation of the Brandon Hills and surrounding areas. This walk will involve a steep climb on uneven terrain to the top of the bald hills on the south-eastern portion of the Brandon Hills. Sturdy footwear, water and bug repellent is strongly recommended. Meet at 6pm in the south-east corner of the Landmark Cinemas parking lot for carpooling to the Brandon Hills.

Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Brandon Hills

Contact Westman Naturalists for more information


Sunday, Jul 07 2019

Rockin’ and Walking’ Around Souris; Hosted by Nature Manitoba

See website for additional details http://www.naturemanitoba.ca/outdoor-activities/2008

Time: All day
Location: Souris

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Saturday, Jul 06 2019

The Beautiful Butterfly Search; Hosted by Nature Conservancy of Canada

See website for additional details http://events.natureconservancy.ca/al-event/the-beautiful-butterfly-search/

Time: 1:00 PM
Location: Manitoba

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists


Friday, Jul 05 2019

Early morning bird survey; Hosted by Ducks Unlimited Canada

Looking for some Volunteer Birders to help out with a early morning bird survey on Friday (July 5th) near rapid city, transportation will be provided from Minnedosa at 5:30 AM and we would likely be back by 10:00 am. It requires about 1.5 miles of walking. If you are interested please contact Heidi Hislop Habitat Specialis, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Brandon Field Office, 204 729-3518

Time: 5:30 AM
Location: Rapid City

Note that this event is not hosted by Westman Naturalists