Hello all and welcome to my brand new blog. My name is Jérémy and I'm the owner of Voyageur Houseboats. I also happen to be one of the main captains for our overnight houseboats and our brand new pontoon tours. With this blog, I wanted to let you in on what's been happening on the Winnipeg River lately, share some of our customers' wildlife encounters, and also share a few of my favorite pictures from this past week on the water.
One of the things I love most about working on the water is the sheer amount of wildlife I get to encounter on a daily basis. By writing this blog, I want to let you in on what it's been like to spend as many as 5 hours on the water everyday, navigating its rocky shorelines. I also wanted to share one of my biggest passions: birding. I have been a fan of birdwatching for the better part of 10 years, as a result of spending a whole summer working as a nature interpreter at Oak Hammock Marsh. There, I got to spend every day working in close proximity with some of the most passionate people I've ever met. Nobody told me when I got the job that this fascination for birds would follow me to this day.
Pinawa is located on a really interesting stretch of the Winnipeg River, where the main flow of the river is split into three channels. Those channels encircle both Hind Island to the north, and Carter Island to the south. The scale of those islands is hard to get across. I can't even fly my drone high enough to get an aerial shot of either of their landmasses. As you circumvent them, you also get to cross Sylvia, Eleanor, and Margaret Lake, all of which have fantastic rock cliff features.
Sharkey's Channel, with Hind Island on the left, and Carter Island on the right
These two islands also form the very northern edge of Whiteshell Provincial Park, and have a special protection status within the park. The backcountry land-use only designation. This special status means those islands are essentially havens for wildlife. The exploration of those two islands with binoculars is the goal of our 2-hour birdwatching tours. Those islands offer a really interesting variation in biomes which allows for a great variety of species to be observed. You never know what interesting species is around the next bend in the river.
To give you some idea of what to except if you join us this summer, here is a detailed list of all the species we came across last week on two different tours:
June 22nd - Bald Eagle Encounter Cruise - 5:45pm - 7:45pm
- 7 adult bald eagles / 1 juvenile
- Trumpeter swan
- Hooded Merganser
- 2 Common Merganser
- 3 Goldeneye
- 5 turkey vultures
- tons of goslings
- 2 mallard
Female Goldeneye followed by 22 goldeneye goslings. Ducky daycare, if you will.
June 25th - Birdwatching Tour 6pm-8pm
- 7 adult bald eagles
- 12 white American pelicans
- 4 turkey vultures
- Common merganser
- Common goldeneye nursery of 22 ducklings
- 2 eagles on the same perch in Margaret Lake (first time I've been able to capture that on camera)
A mated pair of bald eagles. One in the sunlight and one in the shadows.
Doing these tours is allowing me to spend even more time on the water, at the exact times when the bald eagles are all out on their favorite perches. I can't wait for the rest of the summer, and I hope to capture some of that beauty on camera and share it right here, on this blog.
I'm really happy that you've found this page, and that you'll be able to follow along on my journey as I deepen my understanding of the incredible ecosystem that is the Winnipeg River. Future posts will talk about all sorts of topics about the river, such as its rich history, ecology, as well as vignettes about its predominant species. I have been fascinated by bald eagles for a few years, and this past week, my love of capturing them on camera has only deepened. All that to say that you can definitely expect more bald eagle pics!
Have a great day,
Voyageur Houseboat Captain