[CT Birds] Fwd: [SHOREBIRDS] James Bay Report # 3

semismart9 at aol.com semismart9 at aol.com
Thu Jul 23 20:59:45 EDT 2009

-----Original Message-----
From: Jean Iron <jeaniron at SYMPATICO.CA>
Sent: Thu, Jul 23, 2009 6:59 pm
Subject: [SHOREBIRDS] James Bay Report # 3

This is Jean Iron's report via satellite phone today for the period?
19-22 July 2009 from Longridge Point, which is 60 km north of?
Moosonee on southern James Bay. Mark Peck of the Royal Ontario Museum?
(ROM) heads a group six who are surveying shorebirds with a?
particular focus on the endangered rufa subspecies of the Red Knot.?
Longridge is an important site for knots with a one-day estimate of?
5,000 in the late 1970s. Mark Peck (ROM) is a Canadian member of an?
international team studying knots. The ROM group is also studying?
Yellow Rails and they are helping other researchers collect data on?
Northern Harriers, Whimbrels, Black Terns, Short-eared Owls, frogs?
and toads. Funding for the ROM's Red Knot Surrey came from The?
Species at Risk Research Fund in Ontario, which is a partnership?
between the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and World Wildlife?
Fund Canada.?
CORRECTION to James Bay Report # 2. Under Red Knot and Curlew?
Sandpiper change prealternate molt to prebasic molt. Thanks to all?
who noticed my "senior moment".?
The last several days have been sunny with temperatures well above?
normal. Mosquitoes are bad around the camp which is at the base of?
the point, but a sea breeze keeps them in check farther out on the?
long open peninsula. Moose Flies (genus Hybomitra) also called Horse?
Flies and Bulldogs are annoying at times. They peak in July.?
Food Habits: Shorebirds in Hudson and James Bays feed on "an?
abundance of the bivalve Macoma balthica, and in southern James Bay,?
the gastropod Hydrobia minuta, as well as a variety of other?
crustaceans, worms and dipteran larvae" (Ontario Shorebird?
Conservation Plan 2003).?
Adults and Juveniles: No juvenile shorebirds observed as of 22 July?
2009 perhaps indicating a late start to nesting this year due to a?
cold spring and late snow melt. All birds mentioned below are adults.?
Some species are in various degrees of prebasic (postbreeding) molt?
and other species are not molting.?
Black-bellied Plover: Molting; 2 on 21 July.?
American Golden-Plover: Molting; 1 on 21 July.?
Semipalmated Plover: 5 on 19 July, 4/20, 17/21, 8/22.?
Killdeer: 2 on 19 July, 1/22.?
Greater Yellowlegs: Molting; 113 on 19 July, 177/20, 69/21, 314/22.?
Lesser Yellowlegs: Molting; 271 on 19 July, 511/20, 391/21, 463/22.?
Whimbrel: Not molting; 3 on 19 July, 78/20, 71/21, 136/22.?
Hudsonian Godwit: Molting; 102 on 19 July, 261/20, 338/21, 355/22.?
Marbled Godwit: 1 on 20 July, 1/21, 5/22.?
Ruddy Turnstone: Not molting; 15 on July 19 July, 13/20, 14/21, 60/22.?
Red Knot: Molting; 69 on 19 July, 742/20, 966/21, 975/22. Almost?
1,000 knots were seen on two consecutive days. 90 birds had leg flags?
with one observed by Mark Peck that he banded in 2005 on the breeding?
grounds of Southampton Island, Nunavut. Yesterday (22 July) Guy?
Morrison and Ken Ross of the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) surveyed?
southern James Bay by helicopter. They reported good numbers of Red?
Knots south of Longridge Point. See also related information under?
the heading AERIAL SURVEYS below.?
Sanderling: Molting and much faded; 65 on 19 July, 98/20, 22/21, 11/22.?
Semipalmated Sandpiper: Recent increase in numbers; 4,835 on 19 July,?
1,869/20, 1,490/21, 872/22. This species has declined very?
significantly in recent years.?
Least Sandpiper: Not molting; 13 on 19 July, 35/20, 40/21, 20/22.?
White-rumped Sandpiper: Molting; 8 on 19 July, 19/20, 7/21, 7/22.?
Baird's Sandpiper: 1 on 20 July, 1 on 22 July.?
Pectoral Sandpiper: Not molting; 38 on 19 July, 34/20, 41/21, 151/22.?
Dunlin: Bright birds in worn alternate plumage with no sign of?
molting yet; 15 on 19 July, 2/20, 4/21, 2/22.?
Short-billed Dowitcher: 3 on 19 July, 2 on 20 July, 4 on 22 July.?
Many (most?) adult Short-billed Dowitchers in Eastern Canada fly?
directly from the breeding grounds to the Atlantic Coast (Maritime?
Provinces, New England States, New York and New Jersey, so only small?
numbers are usually seen on James Bay.?
Wilson's Snipe: 6 on 19 July, 2/18, 2/21, 4/22. Two tiny young 2-3 days old.?
AERIAL SURVEYS: Guy Morrison and Ken Ross (CWS) are surveying the?
west coast of James Bay this week for waterfowl (such as molting?
flocks of male Black Scoters) and shorebirds. They also will be?
surveying Akimiski Island, Nunavut this week. On 22 July (Tuesday)?
they surveyed Longridge Point. The ROM crew at the same time was?
"ground truthing" to compare results (species and numbers of?
shorebirds seen) between the air and ground surveyors.?
OTHER BIRDS: Trumpeter Swan (year-old bird with some brownish?
feathers) on 20 July, Yellow Rails, Eastern Kingbird on 22 July, Le?
Conte's Sparrows, Nelson's Sparrows, Tennessee Warbler (common), 1?
Clay-colored Sparrow, Common Redpolls flying over every day.?
BEARS: Longridge Point is the ideal location to study shorebird?
migration because it is south of most summering Polar Bears, which?
are rare south of Akimiski Island. However, Black Bears are frequent?
at Longridge. This week a female with 3 cubs broke into camp while?
the surveyors were out during daylight. The bears made a mess eating?
camp food and left teeth marks in many things. The only item the?
bears ignored was the cans of Tim Hortons coffee. Guy Morrison and?
Ken Ross (CWS) brought in replacement food by helicopter, which was?
lost to the bears. The ROM's camp is at the base of the peninsula and?
it is 5.7 km to the tip. Now a person must watch the camp during the?
day because the bears will not leave the area. Two people have?
federal firearm licences to carry a rifle or shotgun, but no bears?
would be killed unless to protect human life.?
BUTTERFLIES: Recent warm sunny weather in the high 20s C brought out?
Arctic Blue, Common Ringlet, Northern Crescent, Canadian Tiger?
Swallowtail, Viceroy, and White Admiral (often on bear dung). Old?
World Swallowtails were seen on 16 and 17 July in Moosonee.?
GEOGRAPHY: James Bay is the southeastern extension of Hudson Bay?
between Ontario and Quebec reaching very deep into eastern Canada?
south to latitude 51 degrees, putting Moosonee slightly south of?
Calgary, Alberta. James Bay is one of the largest inland seas in the?
world. Ontario's approximately 560 km coastline of James Bay is?
extremely flat and intersected by several large rivers and numerous?
smaller streams. The southern coast is characterized by long narrow?
promontories, such as Longridge Point which projects 6 km into James?
Bay, wide sandy bays, extensive brackish marshes, wide intertidal?
flats, and shoals. Tides range from 1 to 3 m with occasional very?
high wind tides flooding the flat terrain. Inland from the coast is?
the immense boreal Hudson Bay Lowlands (HBL) comprising almost 25% of?
the province. The HBL extend into the adjacent provinces of Quebec?
and Manitoba making it one of the largest wetlands in the world.?
Map showing location of Longridge Point.?
R. Clay, B. Collins, J. Iron, R. James, D. McLachlin, R. Weeber. 48?
pages. Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada. Link to pdf below.?
Next update in a few days.?
Ron Pittaway?
Minden and Toronto?
Ontario, Canada?

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