Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 12:37:15 -0400
Reply-To: Jean Iron <jeaniron@SYMPATICO.CA>
Sender: Shorebird Discussion Group <SHOREBIRDS@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Jean Iron <jeaniron@SYMPATICO.CA>
Subject: James Bay, Ontario, Canada, Aug 9 - Report # 6
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This is the sixth and final report from Jean Iron who is surveying
shorebirds along the south coast of James Bay in northern Ontario for the
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. The survey ended yesterday. Jean
noted that water temperatures are very warm in the coastal pools where
shorebirds such as yellowlegs, Hudsonian and Marbled Godwits were feeding.
The Leasts and Pectorals were around pool edges and along muddy creeks,
whereas the Semipalmated Sandpipers and White-rumped Sandpiper were feeding
mainly at the edge of the ebbing tide. The shallow tidal water is also
warmer this summer because of many hot sunny days. Most of the juvenile
Greater Yellowlegs were catching tiny fish in tidal pools and along the
tide line. Below is a list of the shorebirds observed on Tuesday (Aug 9)
about 20 km north of the mouth of the Moose River near Shegogau on southern
Black-bellied Plover, 1
Semipalmated Plover, 23, mostly juveniles.
Greater Yellowlegs, 283, 75% juveniles.
Lesser Yellowlegs, 95, mostly juveniles.
Hudsonian Godwit, 62 molting adults and 3 juveniles.
Marbled Godwit, 5 juveniles, most adults may have left James Bay.
Red Knot, 11, most with much alternate plumage. More on knots see # 1 below.
Sanderling, 5 worn and molting adults, first juveniles expected soon.
Semipalmated Sandpiper, 4374, 60% juveniles.
Least Sandpiper, 248 juveniles, 1 adult.
White-rumped Sandpiper, 7162 adults, no two birds alike because of
different degrees of body molt.
Pectoral Sandpiper, 117 adults, first juveniles expected soon.
Dunlin, 1 adult
Note # 1. More on Red Knots: Yesterday I talked to Mark Peck of the Royal
Ontario Museum here in Toronto. Mark is part of an international group from
Canada, United States, Brazil, Argentina and Chile who is studying the Red
Knot. They are doing field work on the breeding grounds at Southampton
Island (Nunavut) north of Hudson Bay. They are locating nests and
monitoring nest success, but their sample sizes are low ranging from 6 to
12 nests per year. Knot nests are difficult to find because they have large
territories and incubating birds sit tight in cryptic habitat. They also
are studying predation rates during high and low lemming years. When
lemmings are low, predators such as jaegers and gulls prey more on birds.
The group is taking blood samples for DNA work (genetic diversity) and
feather samples for isotope analysis to determine the geographical areas
used by this population. Anyone seeing Red Knots with colored leg bands
and flags can report sightings including numbers of adults and juveniles to
Mark Peck (email@example.com). As well, the Committee on the Status of
Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has contracted Guy Morrison,
Research Scientist - Shorebirds, Canadian Wildlife Service to prepare a
status report on the Red Knot. This report will guide COSEWIC in
designating the Red Knot as Endangered, Threatened, Special Concern, or Not
Note # 2. Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas: This is the final year 5 of the
breeding bird atlas. Atlas crews surveyed many blocks in northern Ontario
and along the coast of Hudson and James Bay, will add much valuable
information to our knowledge of breeding shorebirds in Ontario. Publication
of the Atlas is scheduled for September 2007. To view preliminary maps
Note # 3. Other birds of interest on Tuesday (Aug 9) were 7 Sandhill
Cranes, a light morph Rough-legged Hawk at the Moosonee airport, 1 Yellow
Rail, 35 Rusty Blackbirds, and Savannah Sparrows were common along the
coast. Three Belugas (white whales) were seen from the helicopter at the
mouth of the Moose River.
Acknowledgements: Jean would like to thank the Ontario Ministry of Natural
Resources (OMNR) for the opportunity to survey shorebirds during its study
of coastal habitats on James Bay. Jean will be submitting a report to the OMNR.
After yesterday's survey, Jean flew by helicopter from Moosonee to Timmins.
They saw two small forest fires which OMNR crews were working on to put out
before they got out of control. With the hot weather and thunderstorms, the
fire hazard is high. The helicopter used for the James Bay surveys is now
assigned to fighting forest fires north of Thunder Bay (Lake Superior)
where the fire hazard is extreme. Today Jean is making the long 10 hour
drive from Timmins to Toronto. She'll be stopping every 75 km to assess
cone crops, birch catkins and mountain-ash berries. Tomorrow she'll put
shorebird photos from James Bay on her website http://jeaniron.ca/
We hope that you have enjoyed the reports.
Ron Pittaway and Jean Iron
Minden and Toronto, Ontario, Canada