FortWhyte Alive, Fort Whyte, Manitoba
Previously know as Fort Whyte Centre and Fort Whyte Interpretive Center, this nature appreciation center is located on the south west edge of Winnipeg, Manitoba. I used to visit the site in the days when the area was much less developed and still un-reclaimed open pits/quarries so whenever I am in Winnipeg and have the time available I like to go back to the area to see all of the changes that have taken place over the years. On this occasion, it gave me somewhere to take my mother and father for a short outing.
The area is now operated as FortWhyte Alive with an interpretive centre, an indoor aquarium and a number of small interconnected ‘lakes’ that used to be quarry pits. In addition to the wildlife that drop in to use the area as their breeding ground (ducks and geese), there is also a fenced in prairie dog colony near to the parking lot.
The ponds/lakes include some floating boardwalks to allow visitors to get in close to some of the other wildlife such as the turtles.
Thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) make their own system of burrows in the grassed area around the Interpretive Center and although cautious are also inquisitive and will peek out of their burrow to take a look around.
Thirteen-lined ground squirrels tend to be somewhat solitary or only in small loose groupings. The Prairie Dog, on the other hand is a colonial animal.
I was quite surprised to find that a Kildeer has decided to nest right next to the path from the parking lot over to the Prairie Dog viewing area. I knew that there must be a nest nearby because the Kildeer put on an animated broken wing display for me but it wasn’t until I almost stepped on the nest that I actually was able to see where the nest was. Once I saw where the nest was I took a couple of quick photos and went on over to see the Prairie Dog colony.