Four people representing Cree Nation Government (Aurelie Bourbeau-Lemieux), Nature Canada (Ted Cheskey), Cree Trappers Association of Waskaganish (Gary Salt), and a volunteer from the Quebec Breeding Bird Atlas (Marc-Antoine Montpetit) have spent a five days along the shoreline and islands of Rupert Bay on the south east end of James Bay, across from our friends on the Ontario side of the Bay looking for shorebirds and species-at-risk and contributing to the Quebec Breeding Bird Atlas. A few hours of surveying on August 3 on Jacob Island resulted in 15 species including the following:
Black-bellied Plover 9
Semi-palmated Plover 18
Greater Yellowlegs 37
Lesser Yellowlegs 85
Stilt Sandpiper 1
Hudsonian Godwit 109
Marbled Godwit 1
Ruddy Turnstone 7
Red Knot (adults in molt) 14
Semipalmated Sandpiper 60
Least Sandpiper 25
White-rumped Sandpiper 217
Pectoral Sandpiper 1
Wilson's Snipe 1
Other bird sightings of interest:
Yellow Rail - 17
Nelson's Sparrow - est 200+
LeConte's Sparrow: 30+ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ayyoi8Jkbg&feature=youtu.be
Little Gull 6 (2 juveniles)
A full report on the shorebirds will follow.
From: Shorebird Discussion Group [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Jean Iron [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: August 4, 2014 11:38 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [SHOREBIRDS] James Bay Shorebirds - Little Piskwamish Report #1
This is Jean Iron's first report for the period 30 July to 3 August 2014
from Little Piskwamish Point on the southwestern coast of James Bay in
Ontario, Canada. See map location in link #1 below. James Bay reaches deep
into central Canada to latitude 51 N and is one of the most important and
pristine staging areas for shorebirds in North America. 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 and Moose Cree First Nation. The Little Piskwamish crew comprises
Mark Peck (crew leader), James Kennerley from the United Kingdom, Brendan
Kelly from Newfoundland and Labrador, Jean Iron, Eleanor Zurbrigg, Doug
McRae, Lisa Pollock and Hellen Fu. Two other survey crews are based at North
Point and Longridge Point.
SHOREBIRD OBSERVATIONS: 18 species to date. The maximum counts and dates for
each species are reported below. Counts are done around high tide when
shorebirds are concentrated and resting. Reports pertain to Little
Piskwamish (Lat 51.655515 N, Lon -80.57167 W) except where indicated. This
is wet summer with below average temperatures.
Black-bellied Plover: 27 adults on Aug 1.
Semipalmated Plover: 90 adults and first juvenile on Aug 1.
Solitary Sandpiper: 1 on July 30.
Greater Yellowlegs: 191, some juveniles.
Lesser Yellowlegs: 175 on July 31.
Whimbrel: 20 adults on July 31.
Hudsonian Godwit: 299 molting adults on Aug 1.
Ruddy Turnstone: 29 adults on July 31.
RED KNOT (endangered subspecies rufa): 1050 adults on July 31, 881 on Aug 1
with about 47 flags read on Aug 1, 525 (13 new flags) on Aug 2, 900 on Aug3.
Total flags about 663 since July 15 from Argentina, Chile, most from
Delaware Bay USA, Quebec 1. One knot has been almost 3 weeks illustrating
the importance of James Bay. Knots are fattening and undergoing variable
amounts of body molt before most make the long flight to South America.
Sanderling: 8 molting and fading adults on Aug 1.
Semipalmated Sandpiper: 9000 on Aug 1, first juvenile July 31. One yellow
flag from Suriname XLN.
Least Sandpiper: 45 on July 31, 70 (+50% juveniles) on Aug 2.
White-rumped Sandpiper: 10,000 molting adults on July 31. James Bay is one
the most important fall staging areas for this sandpiper in North America.
After fattening most overfly southern Canada and the U.S. going to South
Pectoral Sandpiper: 194 adults on Aug 1.
Dunlin: 634 adults on July 31.
Short-billed Sandpiper: 3 adults and 1 juvenile on July 31.
Wilson's Snipe: 3 on Aug 1.
Red-necked Phalarope: 1 adult on Aug 3.
SHOREBIRD TRACKING: A system of nano-tagging (begun last summer on James
Bay) and Motus tracking towers and has been set up to track shorebirds such
as Semipalmated Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Dunlin, Hudsonian Godwit
and Red Knot. Nano-tags are tiny and their signals can be received within a
20 km radius of a tower. Tags are placed on when the shorebird is banded and
each tag has a different frequency. Several towers were set up this summer
along southern James Bay. Other towers are located along Lake Ontario and
Lake Erie, St. Lawrence River and Maritime Provinces including Bay of Fundy
and the East Coast of the United States. Towers are 4-5 metres high and
record time and GPS. See photo of a Motus tower taken by Tim Lucas at
Presqu'ile Provincial Park on Lake Ontario.
OTHER BIRD SIGHTINGS: 12 Northern Red-tailed Hawks (breeding subspecies
abieticola) were seen July 29 from the train between Cochrane and Moosonee.
Mute Swan on July 31. American White Pelican, 6 on Aug 1. American Bittern,
1 on 2 Aug. Sandhill Cranes, 10 on 2 Aug. Yellow Rail, 3 on ticking Aug 1.
Sora, 1 on 1 Aug. Bonaparte's Gull, 37 including 1 juvenile on Aug 2.
Common Tern, 8 on Aug 2. Great Horned Owl (breeding subspecies
scalariventris) hooting on July 30n and 31. Gray Jay 5, (2 adults and 3
juveniles - probably a family group) on July 30. Boreal Chickadee, 3 on Aug
1. Swainson's Thrush, 1 juvenile daily. Singing Nelson's Sparrow (subspecies
alter), 7 on Aug 1. Le Conte's Sparrows, 1 on Aug 1. White-winged Crossbill,
145 on Aug 1. Common Redpoll, 10 on July 30. Pine Siskin, 2 on July 31.
OTHER LOCATIONS: Black Guillemot, 3 at Longridge on Aug 2. Gray Catbird, 1
at North Point on July 30. See map link #1 below.
BEARS: Two Black Bears near camp. Polar Bears normally do not occur south of
Akimiski Island where a sizable population spends the summer. See map link
MORE INFORMATION in 3 links below:
1. Map showing location of Little Piskwamish Point
2. Population Estimates of North American Shorebirds 2012. Splice in link if
it is broken.
2. Ontario Shorebird Conservation Plan
WESTERN HEMISPHERE SHOREBIRD REVERVE: The hope is that James Bay (or part
of) will be designated a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve of Hemispheric
Importance. "These sites act as staging, nesting or breeding grounds for at
least 500,000 shorebirds annually, or at least 30% of the biogeographic
population of any species." James Bay much exceeds the minimum criteria for
a "Hemispheric Importance" designation.
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 and 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 hours of
dedicated volunteer effort. Jean thanks an anonymous donor for financial
NOTE: Jean celebrated her birthday on August 1. I thought readers would
enjoy her message to me by DeLorme inReach two-way satellite communicator
with GPS. "Wonderful birthday wiener boil and creek tea on mudflats at dusk
prebanding. Double rainbow. Lovely birthday cake tonight. Chocolate with
little sugar eggs on top and a citronella candle in middle".
Next report in 5-7 days.