This is Jean Iron's second report for the period 6 to 15 August 2012 by
satellite phone from Longridge Point on the southwestern coast of James Bay
in Ontario. See location in map link below. The crew comprised Jean Iron
(lead), Barb Charlton, Deborah Cramer, Andrew Keaveney, Ian Sturdee and Josh
Vandermeulen. The surveys are a joint venture of the Royal Ontario Museum
(ROM), Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) and Ontario Ministry of Natural
SHOREBIRDS: 25 shorebird species recorded to date. Every day there are
proportionately more juveniles in the flocks of most (not all) species.
Overall shorebird numbers, including knots, are considerably lower at
Longridge than for the same period in previous years perhaps reflecting a
below average nesting season. Normally only high counts for the period are
Black-bellied Plover: 128 adults on 14 Aug and small flocks of high flying
adults calling as they moved south following the coast.
American Golden-Plover: 1 adult 8-12 Aug.
Semipalmated Plover: 139 adults on 14 Aug, first juvenile on 12 Aug.
Killdeer, 34 on 12 Aug.
Spotted Sandpiper: 4 juveniles 8 Aug.
Solitary Sandpiper: 1 on 13 Aug.
Greater Yellowlegs: 167 (50% adults) on 10 Aug, also high flying birds
calling as they moved south following the coast.
Lesser Yellowlegs: 104 (mostly juveniles) on 7 Aug, and high flying birds
calling as they flew south following the coast.
Whimbrel: 8 on 12 Aug, first 3 juveniles on 9 Aug.
Hudsonian Godwit: 6 on 9 Aug calling as they flew south following the coast.
Marbled Godwit: 2 juveniles on 13 Aug. The most recently published estimate
of the James Bay population is "about 1500 birds" in the Atlas of the
Breeding Birds of Ontario (2007).
Hudsonian Godwit: 305 molting adults on 7 Aug.
Ruddy Turnstone: 276 adults on 7 Aug, first 2 juveniles on 14 Aug.
RED KNOT: Very few knots compared to previous years. The hoped for second
wave of adults did not arrive. High count was 66 adults on 7 Aug. Only 2 (1
with flag) on 10 Aug. None on 9 and 11 Aug. First juvenile (1) and adult (1)
on 12 Aug. Longridge was chosen for knot surveys because it was a known
stopover where large numbers massed in July and August. Little is known
about the juvenile migration of knots on James Bay because previous surveys
ended about mid-August. This year surveys will go to mid-September so we'll
have better information about the juvenile migration of shorebirds using
southern James Bay.
Sanderling: 25 mainly molting adults on the 14 Aug, first juveniles (3) on
Semipalmated Sandpiper: 2100 on 7 Aug. Mostly juveniles on 14th.
Least Sandpiper: 218 mostly juveniles on 12 Aug.
White-rumped Sandpiper: 7000 molting adults on 7 Aug.
Baird's Sandpiper: 2 on 11 August included both an adult and juvenile
together, first juvenile on 7 Aug, adult on 12 Aug.
Pectoral Sandpiper: 91 adults (no sign of molt) plus first juvenile on 11
Dunlin: 97 adults still mostly in worn breeding plumage on 11 Aug.
Buff-breasted Sandpiper: 1 juvenile on 12 Aug by Josh Vandermeulen.
Short-billed Dowitcher: 5 juveniles on 11 and 13 Aug. Short-billed
Dowitchers are a rapid migrant inland and rarely gather in large flocks
until they reach favoured locations on the Atlantic coast.
Wilson's Snipe: 9 on 14 Aug.
Wilson Phalarope: 1 juvenile on 13 Aug.
Red-necked Phalarope: 1 juvenile on 9 Aug.
ESKIMO CURLEW - Historical Note: The type specimen was taken on James Bay in
1772 at Fort Albany, Ontario. James Bay may have been important for Eskimo
Curlews during fall migration. The last confirmed record is a specimen taken
on 4 September 1963 in Barbados. There is an unconfirmed sighting of two at
North Point, James Bay, on 15 August 1976. Sadly, the Eskimo Curlew has
probably been extinct for almost 50 years.
YELLOW RAIL: 1 last heard on 6 Aug, normally fairly common and heard ticking
well into Aug, but apparently almost absent this and last summer because of
dry supratidal marshes. See comments in report #1.
OTHER BIRDS: Snow Goose, 34 mostly blue morph birds on 12 Aug. Canada Goose,
1 with white neck collar with black code M5M1. Red-necked Grebe, 1 adult on
6 Aug. Ruffed Grouse, 1 drumming and family group of 5. American White
Pelican, 19 on 14 Aug. American Bittern, 2 on 8 Aug. Northern Harrier, 2
juveniles on 10 Aug. Northern Goshawk, 1 juvenile on 7 and 14 Aug. Little
Gull, 2 juveniles on 6 Aug, 1 second year bird on 13 Aug and 1-2 adults
regularly with Bonaparte's Gulls. Bonaparte's Gull. Common Tern, 19 on 8
Aug. Arctic Tern, 1 adult on 7-8 Aug. Snowy Owl, now in wing molt. Great
Horned and Long-eared Owls hooting on 14 August. Common Nighthawk, 1 on 13
and 3 on 14 Aug. Gray Jay, 2 adults and 1 blackish juvenile near camp.
Boreal Chickadee, regularly seen and calling around camp. Rusty Blackbird, 1
on 12 Aug. Red Crossbill, 25 on 8 Aug. White-winged Crossbill, 200 on 9 Aug
with some singing. Le Conte's Sparrow, still singing on 8 Aug. Nelson's
Sparrow, still singing on 8 Aug and 1 carrying a fecal sac on 14 Aug.
MAMMALS: Beluga (White Whale), 3 on 11 Aug by Barb Charlton and Josh
Vandermeulen. Gray Wolf, good views of one on 8 and 14 Aug. Red Fox, rare
dark morph "Silver Fox" on 8 August, all black except for white tip of tail,
called Silver Fox because the long guard hairs in winter pelage are tipped
pale or silver. A female Black Bear with two cubs are regular around camp.
Red Squirrel storing spruce cones in camp shed for the winter. Red Squirrels
and crossbills are competitors for cones.
BUTTERFLIES: Three BUCKEYES on 12 Aug and 1 on 10 Aug. New butterflies since
the last report are Northern Spring Azure, Western White, Clouded Sulphur,
Red Admiral, Northern Crescent, Atlantis Fritillary and Great Spangled
Fritillary fide Andrew Keaveney, Josh Vandermeulen and Barb Charlton.
ODONATES: Black Meadowhawk, Cherry-faced Meadowhawk, Spot-winged Glider,
Wandering Glider and Sphagnum Sprite fide Andrew Keaveney, Josh Vandermeulen
and Barb Charlton.
MAP showing Longridge Point and southern James Bay
LITERATURE CITED: Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario
Crews switched over yesterday and today but Jean and Barb are staying. The
new crew will be listed in report #3 in about a week.