> On Aug 7, 2018, at 11:17, Ron Pittaway <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> This is Jean Iron's first report for the period July 31 to August 7, 2018
> from Longridge Point (51.798942N, 080.69204W) on the southwest coast of
> James Bay in Ontario about 910 km (565 mi) north of Toronto. Two other crews
> are at Little Piskwamish and Northbluff Point. Locations shown on map in
> link #1 below. The vast tidal mudflats and coastal marshes make James Bay
> one of the most important shorebird stopover sites in North America. Surveys
> under the direction of Christian Friis of the Canadian Wildlife Service with
> partners Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Bird Studies
> Canada and Trent University in conjunction with a larger conservation
> initiative involving the James Bay First Nations and Nature Canada.
> LONGRIDGE CREW: The 7 surveyors are Doug McRae (crew lead), Isabel Apkarian,
> Jean Iron, Michael Runtz, Hannah Shinton, Riley Walsh and Ross Wood. Hannah
> Shinton is a student with the Environmental Visual Communications course
> that is run through Fleming College and the Royal Ontario Museum. She is
> producing a video on how traditional ecological knowledge and western
> science can work together to help protect important areas and species such
> as the James Bay coast (Mark Peck pers. comm.).
> SHOREBIRD OBSERVATIONS: 26 species of shorebirds to date. Maximum counts for
> each species listed below. Arrival dates of juveniles reported. Observations
> only for Longridge Point.
> Black-bellied Plover: 76 adults on Aug 6.
> American Golden Plover: 1 adult on Aug 1 to 6.
> Semipalmated Plover: 173 adults on Aug 3. First juvenile on Aug 3.
> Killdeer: 8 on Aug 5 including 1 ad and 2 half-grown young.
> Whimbrel: Seen daily, high counts 18 on Aug 2 and 17 on 3rd and 6th.
> Hudsonian Godwit: 232 on Aug 2. After fattening most will fly non-stop to
> South America.
> Marbled Godwit: 4 on Aug 3. An isolated population of a few thousand birds
> breeds at southern James Bay. This eastern population migrates southwest to
> the Gulf of California, not to the Atlantic or Gulf Coasts as once believed
> before satellite tracking.
> Ruddy Turnstone: 311 adults on Aug 6.
> Red Knot: Endangered rufa subspecies. 1500 adults (about 40 flags read) on
> Aug 1 and 411 on 2nd. Adult knots fatten and undergo variable amounts of
> body molt before most migrate non-stop to South America. No juveniles yet
> but still early for them. Juveniles do not molt while at James Bay.
> Stilt Sandpiper: 2 molting adults on Aug 6.
> Sanderling: 69 molting and fading adults on Aug 6.
> Dunlin: 21 adults (no juveniles) on Aug 1. Subspecies hudsonia. This
> subspecies molts in the north before migration which accounts for its late
> arrival in the south with most arriving there after mid-September.
> Baird's Sandpiper: Adult on Aug 6 by Riley Walsh.
> Least Sandpiper: 86 adults and juveniles on Aug 6.
> White-rumped Sandpiper: 3728 molting adults on Aug 2. James Bay may be the
> most important fall staging area for this sandpiper in North America. After
> fattening most overfly southern Canada and the United States going to South
> Buff-breasted Sandpiper: Adult on Aug 2.
> Pectoral Sandpiper: 303 adults on Aug 3.
> Semipalmated Sandpiper: 3388 adults on Aug 3. First 2 juveniles on 6th. Low
> number of juveniles for the date. Most James Bay birds go via the Bay of
> Fundy to South America. These are the two most important stopover sites for
> southbound Semipalmated Sandpipers in North America.
> Peeps: 2503 unidentified on Aug 3, probably mostly Semipalmated and
> White-rumped Sandpipers.
> Short-billed Dowitcher: 1 adult on Aug 3. Most adults have departed the
> north. First juvenile on Aug 6.
> Wilson's Snipe: 14 on Aug 3.
> Spotted Sandpiper: 5 juveniles on Aug 6.
> Solitary Sandpiper: 3 adults on Aug 6.
> Greater Yellowlegs: 91 adults and juveniles on Aug 4. Ross Wood and Jean saw
> a Greater Yellowlegs catch and eat a Wood Frog.
> Lesser Yellowlegs: 212 adults and juveniles on Aug 3. There has been a
> marked decline in numbers of this yellowlegs. Hunting mortality on the
> wintering grounds is a threat. Ross Wood is attaching 9 satellite
> transmitters on adult Lesser Yellowlegs as part of an international study to
> determine migratory routes, wintering areas, assess survival and return
> rates. Ross is taking blood and feather samples. Genetics and stable
> isotopes will be used to determine origins of birds taken on the wintering
> Wilson's Phalarope: 4 juveniles on Aug 7. A small isolated population nests
> in the prairie-like marshes of James Bay.
> Red-necked Phalarope: One on Aug 3.
> SHOREBIRD BREEDING POOR IN 2018: It was an overall a poor breeding season
> for shorebirds in the Canadian Arctic. A poor breeding season was also
> reported in Greenland and the North Slope of Alaska. The situation this
> summer was mainly a delayed (late) snow melt such that many birds did not
> breed. Those birds that did nest late had low success. Summer storms also
> caused nest abandonment and many nests were depredated. Paul Smith of the
> Canadian Wildlife Service commented, "I expect that juvenile numbers should
> be low, but I would be happy to be wrong."
> SELECTED BIRD SIGHTINGS: American Black Duck, 21 on Aug 6. Black Scoter, 685
> mostly molting males on Aug 6. Bonaparte's Gull, 591 on Aug 4, almost all
> adults some starting to molt, couple of juveniles. Little Gull (3), adult,
> juvenile and first summer/second winter on Aug 4. Arctic Tern, 2 adults and
> 1 juvenile on Aug 3. Common Tern, 34 on Aug 4. YELLOW RAIL, 4 heard ticking
> sometimes all night from camp. Ross Wood banded a Yellow Rail on Aug 4.
> Sora, 2-4 every day in pond near camp. Peregrine Falcon, 1 on 1, 3, 4, 6
> Aug. Merlin, 2 on Aug 1, 5, 6. Bohemian Waxwing, 2 on Aug 3. Olive-sided
> Flycatcher, 1 on Aug 4. Northern Shrike, 1 juvenile on Aug 3 and 5th. Canada
> Jay, 3 regulars but not tame. Boreal Chickadee, 3 on Aug 3, regular.
> Tennessee Warbler, 10 on Aug 1. Northern Waterthrush, 2 on Aug 4.
> Clay-colored Sparrow, 3 on Aug 3. LeConte's Sparrows, 4-6 everyday, still
> singing. Nelson's Sparrows, 8 on Aug 6 (James Bay subspecies alter) still
> singing. Winter Finches: Purple Finch, 1 on Aug 4 and 5. White-winged
> Crossbill, 5 on Aug 3. Common Redpoll, 1 on Aug 1 and 3. Pine Siskin, 36 on
> Aug 4.
> MAMMALS: Beluga (White Whale) 3 on Aug 3. Black Bear, 2 near camp and fresh
> scat seen. Polar Bear (1 at Longridge 18 July 2016) is rare south of
> Akimiski Island (see map link #1) where the world's most southerly
> population spend the summer. River Otter, 1 on Aug 6 seen by Michael Runtz
> and Isabel Apkarian.
> 1. Map of southern James Bay shows location of Longridge Point.
> 2. Population Estimates of North American Shorebirds (2012)
> 3. Southbound Shorebirds - Annotated Checklist.
> ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Survey camps are rented from the Moose Cree First Nation.
> The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) provides
> accommodations in the staff house while crews are in Moosonee. Thanks to Rod
> Brook of MNRF for logistical support. MNRF helicopter transports crews to
> and from the camps. Thanks to Paul Smith (CWS), Declan Troy and Lisa Pollock
> for information on shorebird nesting success this summer. Jean thanks an
> anonymous donor for financial assistance.
> This is Jean's 15th consecutive summer surveying birds in the Hudson Bay
> Lowlands including her 10th consecutive year surveying shorebirds on James
> Ron Pittaway
> Toronto, Ontario