Boreal forest surrounds the lake, so the classic Boreal forest-dwelling animals can be found here. We were fortunate enough to see a couple of the larger mammals of the Boreal forest. Just a couple of days ago, we saw a young bull moose eating vegetation along the shore of a rocky point. Moose are quite common in this area and we are hoping to see more.
We have also spotted black bears on two different occasions. Both times, they were walking along sand beaches looking for food. The American black bear is an omnivore, so it could have been looking for berries, plants, or animals to eat.
The forest along the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg is home to Woodland Caribou. They are medium sized members of the deer family. They grow thick coats to keep them warm in the winter. Both males and females have antlers. These caribou have smaller antlers than their northern relatives, the Barren Ground Caribou. Woodland Caribou also travel in much smaller herds. This makes them harder to spot. We have seen two Woodland Caribou so far, but they were not near Lake Winnipeg. We will keep looking for signs of these mysterious and rare animals.
The Red-Sided Garter snake can also be found in the forest. Apparently there is a place along the western shore of Lake Winnipeg where they gather in massive numbers to den for the winter in holes and crevasses in the limestone. As many as 65,000 snakes have been seen together!
Life can be found below the water surface too. Walleye (also called Pickerel) are the most popular fish in the lake. Commercial fishermen set nets to catch them. Whitefish, Perch, Burbot, Northern Pike, Suckers, and Sturgeon can also be found in Lake Winnipeg. We have also seen a mammal in the water quite frequently – River Otters.
There are many birds that depend on the fish or plants in the lake for food. Dave and I really enjoy watching the American White Pelicans catch fish. They dip their heads underwater and catch fish in the expandable pouch in their bills. They are large birds, growing to be about four feet tall with a wingspan of nine feet!
Other birds found along the lake include Piping Plovers, Canada Geese, Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Turkey Vultures, Common Terns, and several different types of gulls and ducks. We have been lucky enough to see all of these different birds. The geese seem to be getting ready to migrate. We have seen them in large groups along shore or flying in V formation.
These are just a few of the animals that call this area home. As you can see, wildlife here is abundant. If you are interested in any of these animals, I hope that you take the time to learn more about them.