Subject: James Bay Shorebird Report #5 - From: Jean Iron <jeaniron AT SYMPATICO.CA>
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2011 22:11:14 -0400
This is my fifth and final report for the period 11 to 14 August 2011 at North Point on the southwest coast of James Bay, Ontario, and includes sightings from nearby Longridge Point from Mark Peck and Little Piskwamish Point from Doug McRae and Barb Charlton. The OMNR chopper flew survey crews from the three camps to Moosonee on 14 August. We took the Polar Bear Express train from Moosonee to Cochrane on 15th and drove home to southern Ontario on 16th. Shorebird surveys are a partnership of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR), Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) and Moose Cree First Nation (MCFN). The Longridge crew was Mark Peck (ROM), Roy John, Emily Rondel and Antonio Coral. The Little Piskwamish crew was Don Sutherland (OMNR), Doug McRae, Barb Charlton and Ron Ridout. The North Point crew was Mike McMurtry (OMNR), Jean Iron, Aus Taverner and Minnie Sutherland (MCFN). SHOREBIRD OBSERVATIONS: A combined total of 27 shorebird species was recorded for the three camps. Black-bellied Plover: 56 on 13th at North Point, 28 on 12th at Little Piskwamish, up to 50 daily at Longridge. American Golden-Plover: 1 molting adult on 11th and 2 on 13th at Little Piskwamish. Semipalmated Plover: 29 on 12th, including first juvenile, at North Point, 52 on 13th at Little Piskwamish. Solitary Sandpiper: 4 on 11th at Little Piskwamish. Greater Yellowlegs: 451 on 11th at North Point (70% juveniles) and 148 on 11th at Little Piskwamish. Lesser Yellowlegs: 309 on 11th at North Point (80% juveniles) and 691 mostly juveniles on 11th at Little Piskwamish. Whimbrel: 6 on 11th at North Point. Hudsonian Godwit: 160 molting adults on 12th at North Point and 290 on 11th at Little Piskwamish, where a Hudsonian Godwit with red flag CMC from Chile was seen and photographed on 31 July. Marbled Godwit, 1 adult male with 2 juveniles on 11, 12 and 13th at North Point, plus an additional juvenile on 11th. Ruddy Turnstone: 49 adults on 13th at North Point and 58 on 11th at Little Piskwamish. Longridge recorded a Ruddy Turnstone with a lime green flag from Delaware Bay, USA, on 10th. RED KNOT: Of the three surveys sites for this period Little Piskwamish had the highest one day count of 2400 on 11th, Longridge had 250 on 12th, and North Point only 5 on 13th. FLAGS: The combined three sites for the entire survey tallied about 2000 individual sightings of flags representing more than 600 differently marked birds from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, United States and Canada. Celebrity knot TY was last seen at Longridge on 11 August. A knot with a white flag placed in Quebec was seen many times during the final two week period. DATALOGGERS: Longridge recorded 2 dataloggers and Little Piskwamish had 5, all put on in the United States. JUVENILES: The juvenile knot migration was just starting when we left. Little Piskwamish, 7 juveniles on 11th. North Point, 2 juveniles on 11th. Longridge, several juveniles on 12th. It would be interesting to know how many juveniles stage on the James Bay and how long they stay. We hope to survey longer next year. Sanderling: 26 molting adults on 11th at North Point, 8 on 13th at Little Piskwamish. Longridge recorded a lime green flag from Delaware Bay, USA. Semipalmated Sandpiper: 5100 on 11th at North Point were still almost all adults. Increased numbers of juveniles arrived on the afternoon of 13th. A bird with flag lime OHU from the USA was at North Point on 13th. Longridge recorded a yellow flag from Suriname on 28 July and 7 August. Least Sandpiper: 308 on 12th at North Point were almost all juveniles. 277 on 11th at Little Piskwamish were all juveniles. White-rumped Sandpiper: 31,657 on 11th at Little Piskwamish. 9800 molting adults on 11th at North Point. This is the commonest shorebird in southern James Bay. Pectoral Sandpiper: 436 non-molting adults on 12th at North Point. 295 on 11th at Little Piskwamish. Dunlin: 209 adults on 11th at North Point were starting to show signs of molt. 295 on 11th at Little Piskwamish. Short-billed Dowitcher: 27 on 11th at Little Piskwamish, those seen well were juveniles. Wilson's Snipe: 13 on 12th at Little Piskwamish. Wilson's Phalarope: 1 juvenile on 11th at Little Piskwamish. Red-necked Phalarope: 1 adult on 11th at Little Piskwamish. SHOREBIRD MIGRATION: A huge southbound migration took place on 11th and 13th during the day, taking advantage of strong north winds. Birds were high and very vocal. Flock size varied from 6 to 70 and included Black-bellied Plovers, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Whimbrel, Hudsonian Godwits, Pectoral Sandpipers, White-rumped Sandpipers, Dunlin and Ruddy Turnstones.
(Marbled Godwit image from Lee Karney, USFWS Digital Library)