This is the third report for the two day period 11 -12 August 2014 from
Little Piskwamish Point on the southwestern coast of James Bay in Ontario,
Canada. Be sure to see photos and videos in link below. Surveys are
conducted under the direction of Christian Friis of the Canadian Wildlife
Service (CWS) and Mark Peck of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and their
partners: the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR), Bird Studies
Canada, Nature Canada and Moose Cree First Nation. The Little Piskwamish
crew comprised Mark Peck (crew leader), James Kennerley, Brendan Kelly, Jean
Iron, Eleanor Zurbrigg, Doug McRae, Lisa Pollock, Hellen Fu, and Darrell
Isaac and Jeffrey Isaac from Moose Cree First Nation. Two other crews were
based at North Point and Longridge Point. They may file reports.
LINK TO PHOTOS AND VIDEOS - 5 PAGES
HIGH COUNTS: An estimated 46,256 shorebirds were observed on Aug 11 and
30,875 shorebirds on Aug 12. These high counts resulted from strong north
winds combined with high tides after the full moon on Sunday August 10. We
were in awe as many thousands of shorebirds wheeled around at high tide.
Given these numbers at one location, there must be several million
southbound shorebirds using James Bay.
SHOREBIRD OBSERVATIONS: Highest maximum counts and dates for each species
are reported below. Reports pertain to Little Piskwamish.
Black-bellied Plover: 150 adults on Aug 11.
American Golden-Plover: 4 adults on Aug 11.
Semipalmated Plover: 140 on Aug. One third were flying high and migrating
south. Some juveniles noted.
Killdeer: 12 adults and 4 juveniles on Aug 11.
Solitary Sandpiper: 1 juvenile on Aug 12.
Greater Yellowlegs: 380 adults and juveniles on Aug 11.
Lesser Yellowlegs: 325 on Aug 11. All juveniles.
Whimbrel: 3 on Aug 11.
Hudsonian Godwit: 299 molting adults plus first juvenile on Aug 11.
Marbled Godwit: 2 juveniles on Aug 11. Adults have departed.
Ruddy Turnstone: 101 on Aug 11.
RED KNOT: 2000 on Aug 11 and 2000 again on Aug 12 including 12 juveniles on
both days. Juvenile numbers should increase over the next few weeks and
adults will depart soon. Total flag re-sightings were about 1600 for the
period July 15 to Aug 12. Because many individual flagged knots were seen
more than once, the total number of flags represents over 350 individuals.
Mark Peck (ROM) estimates that at least 5000 adult knots are/were using
Little Piskwamish this summer making it one of the most important southbound
sites for the endangered rufa subspecies in North America.
Sanderling: 1 molting adult on Aug 12.
Semipalmated Sandpiper: 11,000 on Aug 11 and 7800 on Aug 12. Juvenile
numbers increasing to about 10%.
Least Sandpiper: 250 on Aug 11. All juveniles.
White-rumped Sandpiper: Conservative estimates of 30,000 adults on Aug 11
and 19,000 on Aug 12.
Pectoral Sandpiper: 300 on Aug 11. First juvenile on Aug 11.
Dunlin: 1200 molting adults on Aug 11 and 1000 on Aug 12. Numbers are
Short-billed Sandpiper: 5 juveniles on Aug 11.
Wilson's Snipe: 80 gathering in a coastal marsh on Aug 11.
Red-necked Phalarope: 1 juvenile on Aug 12.
VIDEO LINKS TO SHOREBIRDS
1. Red Knot Surveys http://youtu.be/x6TP3tAgiKM
2. Red Knots Feeding http://youtu.be/WbY737Rytwg
3. Juvenile Red Knot http://youtu.be/A2YpLGoZq_s
4. Hudsonian Godwit http://youtu.be/YhqqRm4orHU
5. Juvenile Wilson's Phalarope
6. Comparison of juvenile Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs
7. Peeps: http://youtu.be/kEAZz3fS9tg
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: The Western James Bay Shorebird Survey is a cooperative
effort of the Canadian Wildlife Service, Royal Ontario Museum , Ontario
Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR), Bird Studies Canada, Nature Canada in
cooperation with the Moose Cree First Nation. Survey camps are rented from
the Moose Cree First Nation. The OMNR provides accommodations in the
staffhouse while crews are in Moosonee. Thanks to Rod Brook, Sarah Hagey and
Kim Bennett of OMNR for logistical support. This project would not be
possible without the many long days of dedicated volunteer effort. Jean
thanks an anonymous donor for financial assistance to the program.
SHOREBIRD CONSERVATION: It is our hope that these surveys and public support
will contribute to James Bay (or parts thereof) being designated a Western
Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve of Hemispheric Importance. James Bay greatly
exceeds the minimum criteria for this designation.
Jean Iron and Ron Pittaway