This is the third report for the period 26 - 30 July 2013 from East Point on
Hannah Bay, Ontario, on the south coast of James Bay. The Hannah Bay crew
comprised Christian Friis, Shorebird Biologist with the Canadian Wildlife
Service (CWS) and volunteers Jean Iron and Antonio Coral. This report also
includes highlights from Longridge Point (fide Stuart Mackenzie) marked
below with *stars. The Western James Bay Shorebird Survey is a joint effort
of the Canadian Wildlife Service, Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Ministry of
Natural Resources (OMNR) and Bird Studies Canada in cooperation with the
Moose Cree First Nation. See photos in link #3 below.
SHOREBIRDS: 22 species to date. The high count and date for each species are
given for the period.
Black-bellied Plover: 35 adults on 28 July.
Semipalmated Plover: 118 adults on 26 July.
Killdeer: 10 on 26 July.
Spotted Sandpiper: 1 on 27 July.
Greater Yellowlegs: 305 molting adults on 26 July.
Lesser Yellowlegs: 450 molting adults on 26 July. First juveniles on 27
Whimbrel: 16 on 26 July.
Hudsonian Godwit: 309 molting adults on 26 July.
MARBLED GODWIT: 47 on 26 July. The high count of 99 on 20 July 2013 and
other observations suggest that Marbled Godwits breed in the vast marshes of
Hannah Bay. Todd (1963) in the Birds of the Labrador Peninsula described
Marbled Godwit habitat at Hannah Bay. He wrote "The level, wet meadows which
the godwits haunted reminded me strikingly of the plains of Saskatchewan,
where I had become familiar with this species in the season of 1932." This
godwit was recently found breeding nearby in Quebec at Baie Cabbage Willows
and Baie de Boatswain. The James Bay population was recently revised upwards
from 1500 to 2000 birds based on observations from last summer. See
Shorebird Population Estimates 2012 in second link below. Climate warming
may be having a positive effect on the breeding success of Marbled Godwits
on James Bay.
Ruddy Turnstone: 35 adults on 26 July.
RED KNOT (rufa subspecies): 3 adults on 28 July. This low number indicates
that Hannah Bay is not a staging area for knots. See higher numbers for the
same period at Longridge reported below. The endangered rufa subspecies
breeds in the central Canadian Arctic.
Sanderling: 3 molting adults on 26 July.
SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER: 10,102 adults on 26 July. This high number indicates
Hannah Bay's importance for this sandpiper. Antonio Coral recorded two
flagged birds: One with yellow flag MV2 on upper right leg on 28 July and
one with lime green flag 3P3 on upper right leg on 29 July.
Least Sandpiper: 134 on 29 July. First juvenile on 26 July. 90% juveniles on
29 July. Rapid turnover from adults to juveniles.
White-rumped Sandpiper: 558 molting adults on 26 July. Most juveniles do not
arrive until September.
Pectoral Sandpiper: 127 non-molting adults on 26 July.
Dunlin: 19 on 29 July. All adults.
Short-billed Dowitcher: 6 on 27 July. Adults of the subspecies hendersoni.
Red-necked Phalarope: 1 juvenile on 29 July.
OTHER HANNAH BAY BIRDS: 18 species of waterfowl. New for the period: Greater
Scaup, Red-breasted Merganser. Blue-winged Teal. Northern Pintail with 5
chicks on 29 July. Bald Eagles daily with high count of 7 on 27 July. Daily
several adults, year old molting juveniles and one appeared to be a fresh
juvenile. Merlin with juvenile just behind camp. Hunting shorebirds daily.
Sandhill Cranes daily with high count of 51 on 26 July. Bonaparte's Gulls 38
on 28 July. First four juveniles on 26 July. Herring Gull: first juvenile on
26 July. Ring-billed Gull: first juvenile on 27 July. Golden-crowned Kinglet
feeding young on 27 July. Nelson's Sparrows daily. High count of 15 on 26
July, still singing on 30 July even in very windy conditions. Le Conte's
Sparrow less common with high count of 3 on 27 July. Pine Siskin, high of 7
on 30 July.
MAMMALS: Two Black Bears on 29 July.
BUTTERFLIES: Northern Spring Azure, Northern Crescent, Atlantis Fritillary,
Aphrodite Fritillary, Common Ringlet, White Admiral, Viceroy. Very few good
days for butterflies with rain and wind.
ODONATES: Black Meadowhawk, Cherry-faced Meadowhawk, Aeshna sp.
WILDFLOWERS: Beach-pea, Yellowrattle, Canada Buffaloberry (Soapberry) with
lots of berries, Yarrow, Cinquefoil sp., Thrift, Long-stalked Stitchwort,
Arctic Daisy, Fireweed, Common Skullcap.
*LONGRIDGE HIGHLIGHTS: Courtesy of Stuart Mackenzie: Longridge Crew: Stuart
Mackenzie (Bird Studies Canada), Ian Sturdee (volunteer), Adam Timpf
(volunteer), Sarah Neima (Mount Allison University) and Beth MacDonald
(Mount Allison University). Black-bellied Plover: 8 on 28 July. Semipalmated
Plover: 31 on 28 July. Killdeer: 8 on 26 July. Spotted Sandpiper: 1 on 29
July. Greater Yellowlegs: 75 on 29 July. Lesser Yellowlegs: 74 on 29 July.
Whimbrel: 19 on 25 July. Hudsonian Godwit: 200 on 28 July. Marbled Godwit: 1
on 26 July. Ruddy Turnstone: 103 on 26 July. RED KNOT: 1100 on 27 and 29
July. 266 flags recorded. Sanderling: 58 on 26 July. Semipalmated Sandpiper:
600 on 26 July. Least Sandpiper: 25 on 28 July. White-rumped Sandpiper: 750
on 26 July. Pectoral Sandpiper: 82 on 28 July. Dunlin: 15 on 28 July.
Short-billed Dowitcher: 1 on 29 July. Wilson's Snipe: 1 on 29 July.
*Stu Mackenzie reports they captured 67 Semipalmated Sandpipers, 1 Least
Sandpiper and 30 White-rumped Sandpipers. 47 long-lasting VHF radio
transmitters were put on Semipalmated Sandpipers (46) and Least Sandpiper
(1). There is an array of over 15 towers and receivers installed across the
Bay of Fundy waiting for their arrival. The array is designed to detect
tagged animals in flight and on the ground for a distance of over 10 km. It
will detect the birds' arrival in the Bay of Fundy, the details of their
stopover and departure. It is a project of Mount Allison University (New
Brunswick), Acadia University (Nova Scotia) and Environment Canada. Also of
note is a Semipalmated Sandpiper recaptured at Longridge on 29 July 2013
that was banded as a hatch-year on 13 September 2011 at Milford Point,
*Other Longridge sightings: Black Scoter: 2000 and 2500 on 28 and 29 July.
White-winged Scoter: 1 on 29 July. Red-breasted Merganser: 1 on 28 July.
Ruffed Grouse: 1 on 27 July. American White Pelican: 50 on 29 July. American
Bittern: 1 on 28 July. Little Gull: 1 adult on 28 July. Downy Woodpecker: 3
on 28 and 29. Alder Flycatcher: 2 on 29 July. Eastern Kingbird: 1 on 28
July. Barn Swallow: 1 on 26 July. Tennessee Warbler: 1 on 27 July. Wilson's
Warbler: 1 on 29 July. Common Redpoll: daily, high 3 on 25 July.
1. Map of survey sites on southern James Bay.
2. Shorebird Population Estimates and Trends 2012
3. See Hannah Bay Photos July 2013
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Many thanks to Stu Mackenzie of Bird Studies Canada for
data from Longridge. The Western James Bay Shorebird Survey is a cooperative
effort by the Canadian Wildlife Service, Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario
Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR), Bird Studies Canada and Moose Cree
First Nation. Additional support for the 2013 expedition was provided by TD
Friends of the Environment Foundation. The OMNR also provides helicopter
transport to and from field camps and accommodations in the staff house
while crews are in Moosonee. Thanks to Ken Abraham, Rod Brook, Sarah Hagey
and Kim Bennett of OMNR for logistical support. Jean thanks an anonymous
donor for financial assistance allowing her to make satellite phone calls to
Ron so timely reports were available on the Ontbirds and Shorebirds
listservs. Lastly, without the many hours of dedicated volunteer support,
this project would not be possible.
This is our final report. New crews are now in camps at Hannah Bay and
Little Piskwamish. We look forward to their reports.
Jean Iron and Ron Pittaway