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

semismart9 at aol.com semismart9 at aol.com
Fri Aug 5 13:35:02 EDT 2011

-----Original Message-----
From: Jean Iron <jeaniron at SYMPATICO.CA>
Sent: Wed, Aug 3, 2011 6:11 pm
Subject: [SHOREBIRDS] James Bay Shorebird Report #3

This is Jean Iron's third report via satellite phone for the period 26 July
o 2 August 2011 from North Point on the southwestern coast of James Bay in
ntario. This report also incorporates sightings from Longridge Point and
ittle Piskwamish Point. Mark Peck of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
versees surveys of the endangered rufa subspecies of the Red Knot and
ellow Rails. Surveys are a partnership of the ROM, Ontario Ministry of
atural Resources (OMNR), Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) and Moose Cree
irst Nation. The North Point crew is Mike McMurtry (OMNR), Jean Iron and
us Taverner. The Longridge crew is Mark Peck, Roy John, Emily Rondel and
ntonio Coral. The Little Piskwamish crew is Don Sutherland (OMNR), Doug
cRae, Barb Charlton and Ron Ridout. Little Piskwamish is about halfway
etween North Point and Longridge. Surveyors will be at all three sites
ntil 14 August.
SHOREBIRD OBSERVATIONS: 27 species to date. Juveniles of many species
ncreasing. The high count day is listed for each species. Sightings refer
o North Point unless stated otherwise.
Black-bellied Plover: 3 on 29 July.
Semipalmated Plover: 83 on 1 August included a banded individual with green
n lower right and metal on lower left.
Solitary Sandpiper: 4 on 26th at forest ponds at Longridge.
Greater Yellowlegs: 392 on 27th.
Lesser Yellowlegs: 867 on 27th, half juveniles on 2 August.
Whimbrel: 1.
Hudsonian Godwit: 327 molting and fattening adults on 27th.
Marbled Godwit: 1 juvenile on 29th.
Ruddy Turnstone: 52 adults on 29th. 250 adults at Longridge.
RED KNOT: Famous knot TY on orange flag was still at North Point on 29th but
oved about 35 km north to Longridge on 30th. Studies show that many
horebirds return to preferred local areas from year to year. 4990 on 1 Aug
t Little Piskwamish, 3 with geolocators. 600 on 30th at Longridge with 190
ightings of individually marked birds. Smaller numbers at North Point with
igh of 220 on 2 August. The survey period mid July to mid August is timed
o track the maximum number of marked adults. Data from flagged birds will
ive approximate ages and ratios of males to females. Researchers and
irders will re-sight birds showing which populations use James Bay and
heir migration routes.
Sanderling: 15 molting adults on 29th.
SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER: This is peak adult migration time with 23,000 adults
n 29 July at North Point exceeding the 14,147 on 21st. Southbound numbers
t North Point are probably the largest in North America away from the upper
ay of Fundy in New Brunswick. Both counts were with a combination of high
ides and strong northeast winds concentrating the birds. First 3 juveniles
n 29th. 4,500 on 31 July at Little Piskwamish.
Least Sandpiper: 47 on 29th. Mostly juveniles, but still some adults on 2
White-rumped Sandpiper: Large numbers stage and fatten in southern James
ay. 7,710 molting adults at North Point on 29th and 9,300 on 1 August at
ittle Piskwamish. These large numbers are not seen south of James Bay
ndicating that they fly either to eastern Canada where they are common or
ore likely most of the James Bay population flies nonstop to South America.
Baird's Sandpiper: 1 on 27 July at Longridge.
Pectoral Sandpiper: 925 adults on 29th.
Dunlin: 265 adults on 29th.
Stilt Sandpiper: 1 adult on 26th at Longridge.
Buff-breasted Sandpiper: 1 on 30 July at Longridge fide Mark Peck.
American Woodcock: 1 on 1 Aug at Little Piskwamish. There are nearby records
or Moosonee and Fort Albany.
Wilson's Phalarope: 1 adult on 26th and 30th at Longridge.
Red-necked Phalarope: 1 adult on 30th at Longridge.
HUDSON BAY SHOREBIRDS: Ken Abraham (OMNR) reports "We worked on the coast
rom Shagamu River to the Pen Island area on 27-28 July and observed large
umbers of shorebirds. Of note were several hundred Hudsonian Godwits, and
ots of Pectoral, Semipalmated, White-rumped Sandpipers, Dunlins, both
reater and Lesser Yellowlegs (seemed everywhere), Whimbrel and others. It
as particularly nice to see two small flocks of Buff-breasted Sandpipers
14 in total) on 27 July foraging on berries and insects on a ridge along
he Hudson Bay coast. The location was halfway between the Niskibi River and
he Severn River at N56 16.646 W87 46.922.  Other species included Killdeer,
emipalmated Plover, Short billed Dowitcher, Wilson's Snipe and Red-necked
halarope. Absent from the list were Black-bellied Plover and American
YELLOW RAIL: 1 ticking at Little Piskwamish on 30 July to 1 Aug, but none at
orth Point and Longridge because of dry coastal marshes which normally have
 10-20 cm depth of water. Ken Abraham heard a minimum of 2 Yellow Rails
icking loudly on 27 July at a freshwater marsh about 10 km inland from the
utlet of the Niskibi River on Hudson Bay.
OTHER BIRDS: Ken Abraham reports for the Hudson Bay coast of Ontario and
kimiski Island, Nunavut, in James Bay. "We banded over 3000 adult Canada
eese and over 5000 goslings, plus 500 adult Lesser Snow Geese and 800
oslings. We continue to be impressed by the number of bald eagles on the
udson Bay coast with many (even most) being observed very near brood flocks
f geese. I suspect they have become an increasing factor in the mortality
f both goose species over the past decade. This year there were even
everal observations on Akimiski Island during the two weeks of banding in
ate July, which is unusual." Black Scoter, 400 molting males off Little
iskwamish. Double-crested Cormorant, 2 on 2 Aug at Little Piskwamish. Great
lue Heron on 2 Aug at Little Piskwamish. Ruffed Grouse drumming on 2 Aug.
merican White Pelicans, 71 in supplemental plumage on 2 August. Northern
arrier, adult female on 31st. Northern Goshawk, adult on 30th by Doug
cRae. Merlin on 30th. Sora on 1 August at Little Piskwamish. Bonaparte's
ull, 350 on 31st at Longridge. Ring-billed Gull, 2 juveniles on 28th.
aspian Tern, 3 on 1 Aug at Little Piskwamish. Common Tern, 2 on 2 Aug.
rctic Tern, 2 on 2 August. Great Horned Owl hooting at Little Piskwamish.
orthern Shrike, adult with 2 brownish juveniles at Longridge. Gray Jays
egular around camp. Swallows migrating south. Tree Swallow, 28 on 28th.
ank Swallow on 29th and 31st. Cliff Swallow on 29th. Swainson's Thrush with
oung. American Robins eating Buffaloberries (Shepherdia canadensis).
uropean Starling, 65 at Little Piskwamish were unusual.  Cedar Waxwings
ating Buffaloberries. Canada Warbler singing on 1 & 3 Aug at Little
iskwamish. Chipping Sparrow nest with young at Longridge. Clay-colored
parrow nest with young at Longridge. Savannah Sparrow nest with eggs at
ongridge. Savannah Sparrows abundant at North Point. Le Conte's Sparrows
nd Nelson's Sparrows (subspecies alterus) still singing. White-throated
parrow on 31st eating Buffaloberries. Red-winged Blackbird, 31 on 2 Aug, 36
t Little Piskwamish. Common Grackle on 1 August. White-winged Crossbills,
3 on 29th. Excellent cone crop on White Spruce. Crossbills extracting seeds
rom green cones. Some singing suggests they may nest soon as cone crop
ipens. Common Redpoll, 15 on 2 August at Little Piskwamish.
MAMMALS: American Marten on 2 Aug. Beluga (White Whale) 6 on 29 July at
orth Point by Doug McRae and Barb Charlton. Two dead Belugas at Longridge.
ause of death unknown, but possibly individuals trapped in ice late last
all before they could migrate to leads and polynyas in Hudson Bay where
ome Belugas spend the winter. A Black Bear chewed a bar of Sunlight soap at
ongridge; this fragrant yellow soap is an old camp favourite. On the Hudson
ay coast, Ken Abraham (OMNR) reports "There are a lot of Polar Bears ashore
ith several sighted 10-20 km inland in the fens."
HERPTILES: Eastern Gartersnake: 1 on 31 July at Longridge. There are
revious records for southern James Bay. American Toads of the colourful
eddish Hudson Bay population and Wood Frogs are scarce this summer probably
ecause of the very dry conditions.
BUTTERFLIES: Two additions since last report from Barb Charlton are Common
randed Skipper and Silver-bordered Fritillary (photos).
ODONATES: No new species since last report. Fewer dragonflies with the dry
onditions. They are eating Bulldog Flies (Tabanidae) which pleases
urveyors because these flies are aggressive biters.
MPORTANT NEW PUBLICATION: John Riley of the Nature Conservancy of Canada
formerly OMNR) has just published "Wetlands of the Hudson Bay Lowland - An
ntario Overview". A hard copy of this scholarly publication with excellent
abitat photos is available from the author.
ohn.Riley at natureconservancy.ca
Next update in a week.
Ron Pittaway
inden, Ontario

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