Season Summaries 2017
The James Bay shorebird project is in full swing and crews have been in the field since 15 July when we opened two remote camps, Longridge Point and Little Piskwamish Point. Northbluff Point field camp opened on the 30th. Crews communicate via inReach SE units (two-way messaging devices) or satellite phone.
In addition to the shorebird and related habitat and resource work, for the first period we were joined by Jay Wright of the International Rusty Blackbird Working Group (www.RustyBlackbird.org). Luke Powell of the Group is spearheading the work and he made contact with us in the winter to make arrangements. The Group seeks to collect genetic samples from Rusty Blackbirds from across the species range, then sequence DNA for a “genoscape” analysis of population structure and migratory connectivity. They hope to get 25 birds sampled from James Bay. As a result, Longridge Point includes a number of interesting observations by Jay and his assistant, one rotating member of the shorebird crew, while venturing inland.
Motus: The Motus Wildlife Tracking System (Motus, Latin for ‘movement’) is an international collaborative research network that uses a coordinated automated radio telemetry array to track the movement and behaviour of small flying organisms. Motus tracks animals (birds, bats, and large insects) affixed with digitally-encoded radio transmitters “nano-tags” that broadcast signals several times each minute. These signals are detected by automated radio telemetry stations that scan for signals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. When results from many stations are combined, the array can track animals across a diversity of landscapes covering thousands of kilometers. The James Bay shorebird project has seven towers set-up on the southwestern coast of James Bay. In addition, towers have been set-up on the Quebec side. Check out https://motus.org/data/receiversMap.jsp for locations of towers across the network.
Banding crews have been in operation at Longridge Point since 15 July, and began on the 31st at Northbluff Point. We plan to affix over 280 tags to a variety of shorebird species this summer, including Semipalmated Plover, Lesser Yellowlegs, Hudsonian Godwit, Red Knot, and Semipalmated, Least, White-rumped, and Pectoral sandpipers.
Invertebrate Sampling: Each field camp has an invertebrate technician who samples at four different sites each day, collecting three 5x10cm (98.18ml) benthic core samples from a shorebird foraging site and a near-by non-foraging site (control) site per field camp (two forage, two control). Replicate cores are taken approximately 1m apart from each other. All samples are conducted within two hours of low tide. The goal is spatial coverage across the flats at different sections of coast at each field camp to better understand resource availability for staging shorebirds using James Bay in the fall.
The camp was led by Allie Anderson, a PhD. candidate at Trent University also under the direction of Dr. Erica Nol (Trent University) and Dr. Paul Smith (Environment and Climate Change Canada). She moved to open and run Northbluff Point on 30 July. This is Allie’s third field season on James Bay, and we are lucky to have her! Allie’s research focuses on shorebird diet, habitat use, flexibility in migration timing of staging shorebirds, and migratory routes taken. Longridge Point is run by Daniel Froehlich for the remainder of the season. Dan returns to us for his second season with the project. The reports up to 29 August are from Mark Dorriesfield, who is one of Amie’s MacDonald's technicians primarily focused on her objectives (see Piskwamish for details). Mark is a former volunteer with the project and this is his second season with us. The final report, 29 August to 13 September is from Allie Anderson.
Black-bellied Plover: small numbers throughout the period, all adults, high of 15 on 25th. First on 18th.
American Golden-Plover: couples on 3 dates, adults, first on 21st.
Semipalmated Plover: adults high of 115 on 29th.
Killdeer: high of 8 on 23rd.
Solitary Sandpiper: none on coast, but 10 inland on 19th.
Greater Yellowlegs: high of 102 on 29th.
Spotted Sandpiper: singles on 2 days.
Lesser Yellowlegs: high of 217 on 28th.
Whimbrel: numerous early in period, high of 60 on 18th.
Hudsonian Godwit: adults, high of 94 on the 28th.
Ruddy Turnstone: adults, 245 on 28th. On the 29th the crew resighted one bird originally banded at Longridge Point in 2016.
Marbled Godwit: juvenile on 29th.
Red Knot: adults, highs of 800 on 27th and 1400 on 28th.
Stilt Sandpiper: adult on 21st.
Sanderling: adults, high of 139 on 21st.
Dunlin: adults, high of 55 on 28th.
Least Sandpiper: mostly juveniles by end of the period, high of 58 on 29th.
White-rumped Sandpiper: adults, very few until 21st, high of 1400 on 29th.
Semipalmated Sandpiper: mostly adult, some juveniles showing up second half of the period. High of 1146 on 29th.
Note: 3600+ combined White-rumped and Semipalmated sandpipers on 28th, when a large flock of peeps flew to roost at the tip of Longridge Point with about 1400 Red Knot. Big backlit flocks that passed us in less than a minute, a pain!
Pectoral Sandpiper: adults with a few juveniles, high of 334 on 28th.
Wilson’s Phalarope: 1 adult and 1 juvenile both on 22nd.
Short-billed Dowitcher: around in small numbers, some adult at beginning and more juveniles toward end of the period, high of 8 on 16th. Juvenile captured on 24th.
Other interesting birds
American White Pelican flyover flocks on 4 dates, high of 37 on 23rd. Ammodramus sparrows up to 6 Le Conte’s Sparrow and 10 Nelson’s Sparrow. Clay-colored Sparrow 3 throughout the period. Arctic Tern 2 on 25th and 1 on 26th. A 1st summer Great Black-backed Gull present throughout the period. The surrounding marshes are dry but a few Yellow Rail are present, high of 7 on 28th (some inland).
Sadly, a dead beluga and unborn calf were found on 18th. They had probably been there for a few weeks prior to the arrival of the crew. Two live belugas close to shore on 19th. Only one Black Bear, a young one on 21st. Two River Otters and 1 Beaver on 27th. One Muskrat on 28th. A few wolf and fox tracks but no sightings, yet.
Zig-zag, Sedge, Lake, Canada, and Variable darners.
Eastern Garter Snake (1), and American Toads (Hudson Bay sub-species) are numerous.
Rusty Blackbird work
Jay Wright caught 29 Rusty Blackbirds between the 25th and 29th. Jay and his assistants had some cool stuff: Greater and Lesser yellowlegs, and Solitary Sandpiper still on territory inland. Northern Shrike on 25th, Virginia Rail on 28th, 3 Wood Duck at 2 locations throughout the period, and a possible Great Grey Owl on 18th. The sample Jay was able to acquire is much better than expected! We look forward to learning more about the results of the International Rusty Blackbird Group’s work on this front.
31 July – 14 August
Black-bellied Plover: adults, arrived in numbers on 8 August, highs of 112 on 12 and 13 August.
American Golden-Plover: a few adults through session, highs of 3 on 6 and 7 August.
Semipalmated Plover: high of 133 in 12 August, first juvenile on 4 August, juveniles increasing later in session.
Killdeer: a few around, high of 5 on 2 August.
Solitary Sandpiper: 2 juveniles hanging around the wrack at the base of the point throughout the session.
Greater Yellowlegs: high of 291 on 12 August (including migrating groups), still mostly adult by the end of the session but juveniles increasing.
Lesser Yellowlegs: high of 314 on 5 August, higher proportion of juveniles than Greater Yellowlegs but still more adults.
Whimbrel: high of 40 on 5 August.
Hudsonian Godwit: high of 304 on 12 August, first juvenile on 2 August.
Marbled Godwit: a few throughout session, high of 4 on 3 August.
Ruddy Turnstone: high of 279 on 8 August, first juvenile on 7 August.
Red Knot: high of 279 on 4 August, first juvenile on 3 August, numbers really dropped off after 8 August.
Stilt Sandpiper: one juvenile on 12 August.
Sanderling: adults, high of 146 on 13 August.
Dunlin: high of 209 on 11 August, first juvenile on 11 August.
Least Sandpiper: high of 245 on 11 August, occasional adults seen during the first half of the session, but almost all juveniles.
White-rumped Sandpiper: adults, highs of 7892 on 8 August and 6500 on 9 August.
Baird’s Sandpiper: 1 adult and 1 juvenile on 2 August, single juveniles on 8 and 10 August.
Buff-breasted Sandpiper: singles on 8, 9 and 11 August, one aged as adult.
Semipalmated Sandpiper: high of 5299 on 12 August, large flocks on flats still mostly adult and smaller groups inshore mostly juvenile.
Short-billed Dowitcher: juveniles, high of 13 on 12 August.
Wilson’s Snipe: got quiet early in the session so harder to detect, high of 4 on 10 August.
Wilson’s Phalarope: juveniles, high of 6 on 9 August.
Red-necked Phalarope: juveniles, high of 8 on 10 August
American White Pelican: flyover flocks during the first half of the session, high of 82 on 6 August.
Black Scoter: a flock of over 1000 throughout the session. Black Scoter stage in huge rafts on James Bay in the fall.
Northern Goshawk: one over camp on 4 August. A juvenile was mobbed by Common Terns over the bay on 8 August.
Little Gull: juvenile on 8 August, one second-year individual and one adult on 10 August.
Arctic Tern: singles on 10 and 11 August.
Black Guillemot: possible juvenile on 8 August.
Great Horned Owl: first heard in camp on 7 August, then occasionally after.
Dead Beluga: now clearly showing head of unborn calf, likely died during birthing.
Harbor Seal: 1 on 31 July.
American Marten: chased young Snowshoe Hare in camp then showed well on evening of 30 July, seen briefly later in session.
Snowshoe Hare: a couple seen in camp during the first half of the session.
Striped Skunk: first seen in camp on 2 August, seen occasionally after.
Black Bear: mother and 2 cubs seen on 3 August, 2 different individuals seen closer to camp on 9 and 13 August.
Caribou: old tracks found back in West Bay (bay immediately to the west of Longridge Point).
Bronze Coppers: a few seen throughout session.
Anne Blondin is the invertebrate technician at Longridge Point. Here is her summary:
Samples collected from 18 forage sites and 18 control sites. 317 dead ecrobia; 107 live ecrobia; 17 dead unknown Gastropoda; 43 adult macoma; 298 juv macoma; 72 naididae; 3 chironomid; 35 polychaetes; 9 unknown depteran larvae; 1 adult coleoptera, 1 sipunculid; 1 arachnid; 2 amphipods; 4 ceratopogonids.
14 – 29 august
Things have gotten really quiet here the last few days. It appears most birds left 31 August. There were consistent north winds up to this night.
Black-bellied Plover - almost all adult, high of 95 on 23rd, first juvenile on 16th.
American Golden-Plover - mix of adult and juvenile highs of 7 on 24th and 25th, first juvenile 24th
Semipalmated Plover - most juvenile, high 138 on 25th.
Killdeer - high of 7 on 18th.
Solitary Sandpiper - single birds sporadically throughout.
Greater Yellowlegs - high of 94 on 21st.
Lesser Yellowlegs - high of 110 on 21st.
Whimbrel - most juveniles, single digits, high of 6 on 16th.
Hudsonian Godwit - high 163 on 20th, few juvenile.
Marbled Godwit - highs 2 on 16th and 25th.
Ruddy Turnstone - most juvenile, high 142 on 23rd.
Red Knot - very few, most juveniles. Most days 0 or single digits, high of 30 on 26th.
Stilt Sandpiper - 3 juveniles around from 16th-20th, high of 5 on 17th.
Sanderling - juveniles increasing to dominant by session end. High of 117 of 23rd.
Dunlin - high 302 on 26th.
Baird’s Sandpiper - 1 on 18th, 3 juvenile on 19th.
Least Sandpiper - juveniles high 84 on 17th.
White-rumped Sandpiper - adults, 2172 on 17th.
Buff-breasted Sandpiper - singles 15th, 25th, and 27th, 2 on 28th.
Pectoral Sandpiper - most juveniles, high 320 on 25th. Leucistic bird seen 24th and 27th.
Semipalmated Sandpiper - almost all juvenile, high 1625 on 25th.
Short-billed Dowitcher - juveniles, high 10 on 20th.
Wilson’s Snipe - high 6 on 26th.
Red-necked Phalarope - juveniles 5 on 17th.
Mallard X American Black Duck Hybrid - 1 on 17th.
Long-tailed Duck - adult female seen 19th and 23rd.
Black Scoter - large flock still around, high of 1100 on 16th.
Parasitic Jaeger - subadult light morph on 17th and 19th.
Little Gull - seen on 5 dates, high of 3 on 18th.
Thayer’s Gull - one 2nd cycle found ill on 25th, found dead next morning.
Arctic Tern - 1 on 19th.
Common Nighthawk - singles 19th and 28th.
Shrew sp. - a few live and dead ones found.
Striped Skunk - in camp 15th, 19th, and 28th.
American Marten - 1 in camp 24th.
Ermine 1 - in camp 28th.
Beluga - seen on five days, high of 4 on 28th. Dead Beluga - very high tides on the 23rd moved the carcass off the point to the beach on the mainland 4.6km away.
Anne Blondin is the invertebrate technician at Longridge Point. Here is her summary:
Amphipoda 2; chironomid 19; dead ecrobia 187; live ecrobia 66; dead unknown Gastropoda 15; live unknown Gastropoda 3; dolichopopidae 4; juvenile macoma 286, Adult macoma 28; naididae 3; oligochaetes 3906; polychaete 41; sipunculid 1; mites 3; ephydridae 2; unknown Diptera 6; Scathopogidae larvae 5; Scathopogidae pupae 42; Scathopogidae adult 10. Oligochaetes were all in one wrack site!
29 AUGUST – 13 SEPTEMBER
August 30th was a peak day for shorebird counts for many species.
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER- high 64, 6 September.
AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER- high 30, 30 August.
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER-high 255, 30 August.
KILLDEER- single birds, high 3 on several days.
SPOTTED SANDPIPER- 1 only (first in two weeks), 30 August.
GREATER YELLOWLEGS- high 70, 3 September.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS- high 92, 30 August.
WHIMBREL- high 13, 30 August otherwise single birds throughout.
HUDSONIAN GODWIT- high 762, 6 September.
MARBLED GODWIT- only 1 observed, 1 September.
RUDDY TURNSTONE- high 180, 6 September.
RED KNOT- high 100, 6 September.
SANDERLING-high 305, 31 August.
DUNL-high 542, 9 September.
BAIRD’S SANDPIPER- only 1 (first observed in two weeks), 3 September.
LEAST SANDPIPER- high 91, 30 August. Numbers down to single digits after that day.
WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER- high 689, 30 August.
BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER- high 3, 10 September.
PECTORAL SANDPIPER- high 437, 30 August.
SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER- high 3, 30 August 30. None observed after 31 August.
WILSON’S SNIPE- high 12, 5 September.
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE- single birds observed 8 and 9 September.
Large numbers of waterfowl continued to migrate over during the period.
SNOWGOOSE- high 540, on 30 August.
CANADA GOOSE- high 3,018, 30 August.
CACKLING GOOSE- single birds (first and only of the season), 7 and September.
Small numbers of Mallards, American Black Ducks, Blue-Winged Teal, and American Widgeon throughout.
NOTHERN PINTAIL- high 599, 9 September.
GREEN-WINGED TEAL- high 417, 10 September.
BLACK SCOTER- high 820, 1 September.
COMMON GOLDENEYE- high 92, 9 September.
HORNED GREBE- 1 (first and only of the season), 1 September.
Small Raptor flight, 2 September: 14 NORTHERN HARRIER, 2 SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, 2 BROAD-WINGED HAWK, 2 RED-TAILED HAWK. Few or single birds most other days.
SANDHILL CRANE-high 64, 6 September.
BONAPARTE’S GULL- high 433, 1 September.
BLACK TERN- 2 on 30 August, and 1 on 3 September.
MOURNING DOVE- single individual (first of season) observed, 5-7 September.
SHORT-EARED OWL- single individual (first of season) observed, 12 September.
NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL- 2 heard, 7 September.
COMMON NIGHTHAWK- single individuals observed, 1 and 3 September.
PEREGRINE FALCON- increased this session with birds seen almost every day (high 3 on 6 September).
HORNED LARK- large numbers increasing to 550 on 8 September.
AMERICAN PIPIT- increasing to high 102, 7 September.
*YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD- 1 observed at camp, 6 September.
LONG-TAILED DUCK- 1 observed of east side of Longridge 1 September.
*NORTHERN PARULA-1 observed 10 September.
GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH- 6 observed, 12 September.
Little Piskwamish Point
The camp is led by Amie MacDonald, a MSc. candidate at Trent University under the direction of Dr. Erica Nol (Trent U) and Dr. Paul Smith (Environment and Climate Change Canada). Amie has been a key member of our crew for many years and we are very excited that she will continue to work with us in a research capacity. Amie’s project proposes to estimate the annual survival of Red Knots using James Bay, and explore the links between survival and environmental conditions throughout their range. She will also use spring and fall data from more southerly staging sites to determine when in the annual cycle mortality occurs. Understanding the importance of James Bay as a stopover site, particularly for endangered rufa Red Knots on their southward migration, is crucial to developing effective conservation strategies. The following reports are from Amie.
Hudsonian Godwit average 80, maximum count 254 (20 July)
Red Knot average 446, maximum 1375 (23 July).
Dunlin average 116, maximum 434 (23 July)
White-rumped Sandpiper average 1195, maximum 4803 (29 July)
Semipalmated Sandpiper average 3010, maximum 8019 (27 July)
Other shorebirds encountered in the period include Black-bellied Plover, Least Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, Semipalmated Plover, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Sanderling, Ruddy Turnstone, Spotted Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Solitary Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, and Wilson’s Snipe.
Spoiler alert: Juveniles have arrived! First Red Knot juveniles observed 3 August; first juvenile Semipalmated Plover and Ruddy Turnstone on 4 August. The crew observed a high proportion of juvenile Red Knot on 5 August, which could indicate a good breeding year. Interestingly, all camps observed their first juvenile Red Knot on 3 August.
31 July – 14 August 2017
Conditions are cold and dry on the coast. New shorebird species observed during this session: Wilson’s Phalarope, Red-necked Phalarope, Short-billed Dowitcher, Stilt Sandpiper, and American Golden-Plover. First juveniles of Red Knot, Hudsonian Godwit, Marbled Godwit, Greater Yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitcher, Red-necked Phalarope, Wilson’s Phalarope, Stilt Sandpiper, and Semipalmated Plover. Juveniles of Lesser Yellowlegs and Semipalmated Sandpiper continue.
Most numerous species: White-rumped Sandpiper, >9000 on 6 August.
Red Knot: high count of about 3000 on 10 August. Highest number of flags read in a day: 88 on 3 August. Flag colours (countries) observed: green (USA), orange (Argentina), red (Chile), white (Canada), blue (Brazil). Finally, a high proportion juvenile Red Knot have been observed – over 50% juvenile in a few flocks, maybe a sign of a good breeding year?
Other notable birds: juvenile Northern Saw-whet Owl in camp, Red Crossbill.
Michelle McKay is the invertebrate technician at Piskwamish; here is her summary:
168 cores taken, foraging species - sample site combinations are 11 White-rumped Sandpiper, 10 Semipalmated Sandpiper, 3 Red Knot, 1 Lesser Yellowlegs, 2 Hudsonian Godwit. Totals of invertebrates collected within these cores: 3 ceratopogonidae, 98 chironomid, 2 Coleoptera, 1266 ecrobia, 46 Gastropods, 403 macoma, 3 mussels, 6 naididae, 16 syrphidae, & 102 unknown.
14 – 29 August
First Buff-breasted Sandpiper, first juvenile Black-bellied Plover, a shift to majority juvenile Red Knot compared with majority adult in crew 2, and resights of green, blue, orange, and white flags from the US, Brazil, Argentina, and Canada, respectively. Also resighted two Hudsonian Godwit flags - red (Chile) and green (US).
On August 23 (highest high tide) we had 7700 White-rumped Sandpiper and 818 Red Knot. Red Knot numbers have definitely gone down from crew 2. Very high tides Aug 23-25, flocks of >3000 White-rumped Sandpiper and Dunlin (combined). First sightings of other birds include Snow Goose, Peregrine Falcon, Cedar Waxwing, and American Pipit.
Other exciting sightings include grey wolf, beluga, and the northern lights.
29 AUGUST – 13 SEPTEMBER
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER - high count of 43 on 6 September.
AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER - high count of 26 on 6 September.
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER - high count 137 on 31 August.
KILLDEER - high count 7 on 4 September.
SOLITARY SANDPIPER - observations of 1 on multiple days.
GREATER YELLOWLEGS - high count of 105 on 31 August.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS - high count 16 on 6 September.
WHIMBREL - 1 on 10 September.
HUDSONIAN GODWIT - high count 382 on 6 September (migrating out - didn't see them after this).
MARBLED GODWIT - 1 on 30 August, 2 on 1 September.
RUDDY TURNSTONE - high count 37 on 31 August.
RED KNOT - high count 560 on 3 September (98% juvenile this session).
SANDERLING - high count 191 on 7 September.
DUNLIN - high count 4959 on 6 September.
BAIRD'S SANDPIPER - 1 on 2 September.
LEAST SANDPIPER - high count 13 on 3 September.
WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER - first juvenile 31 August, high count 4332 on 30 August (numbers declined after this and Dunlin became most abundant shorebird).
BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER - 1 on 30 August and 1 on 3 September.
PECTORAL SANDPIPER - high count 161 on 1 September.
SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER - high count 1233 on 4 September.
SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER - 1 on 30 August, 2 on 31 August, 1 on 12 September.
WILSON'S SNIPE - high count 5 on 6 September.
Other bird observations
SNOW GOOSE - high count 464 on 30 August.
BRANT - first observed 3 September, high count 80 on 6 September.
CACKLING GOOSE - first observed 31 August, high count 16 on 8 September.
CANADA GOOSE - high count 4266 on 6 September.
NORTHERN PINTAIL - high count 8108 on 8 September.
MALLARD x AMERICAN BLACK DUCK hybrid - 1 observed on 7 September, 8 September.
PARASITIC JAEGER - 1 on 7 September.
BLACK TERN - 10 on 30 August.
NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL - high count 5 on 11 September.
BELTED KINGFISHER - 1 on 2 September.
HORNED LARK - first observed 31 August, high count 518 on 10 September.
LAPLAND LONGSPUR - first observed 6 September, high count of 20 same day.
Other wildlife observations
MAMMALS: Harbour seal, ringed seal, meadow jumping mouse, red squirrel.
REPTILES and AMPHIBIANS: Eastern garter snake, American toad, spring peeper, boreal chorus frog, wood frog.
BUTTERFLIES: Mourning cloak, painted lady, white admiral.
The camp is led by Allie Anderson, a PhD. candidate at Trent University also under the direction of Dr. Erica Nol (Trent U) and Dr. Paul Smith (Environment and Climate Change Canada). This is Allie’s third field season on James Bay, and we are lucky to have her! Allie’s research focusses on shorebird diet, habitat use, flexibility in migration timing of staging shorebirds, and migratory routes taken. The 31 July to 14 August report is from Allie. The remaining reports are from Ross Wood, one of our most dedicated and reliable crew members. Ross has participated in the project since 2011.
31 July - 14 August
Session two had two large bursts of shorebirds. On August 2nd, 377 Hudsonian Godwit, 5539 White-rumped Sandpiper, 2124 Semipalmated Sandpiper and the first juvenile Red Knot were observed. On 8 August, we had the busiest day with 6,767 White-rumped Sandpiper, 4,545 Semipalmated Sandpiper, 523 Ruddy Turnstone, and 368 Hudsonian Godwit. We also had 611 Red Knot (mostly adult) which is 500 more than our typical daily count.
Other observations: a headless dead seal only present for two days and eventually washed out during a high tide, and two wolf pups with one adult wolf.
Banding highlights: 61 shorebirds banded on 11 August, including a juvenile Red-neck Phalarope and deploying nanotags on 15 Semipalmated Plover.
Other interesting things: we continue to measure shorebird wings to address change in size and shape. We are interested to see if refueling rates and shorebird scat samples show similar results as last year and to see how much overlap in diet there are among species.
Allie is also the invertebrate technician at Northbluff, here is her summary: seeing similar species abundances though not sure many of the dipterans were accessible as the near high areas [inland intertidal zone] were dry from drought. Ecrobia truncata (mud snails) continue to present in high numbers (100s per 5x10 cm core). With habitat distribution surveys we have begun to notice adult Semipalmated Sandpipers out near the low tide line, similar to what Dr. Guy Morrison noticed when working at this site in the 1970s and 1980s. It may coincide with adults shifting to feeding on macoma balthica spat. Wracks have not been as productive this year.
During the period, 116 species of bird were detected in the camps census area. This includes 25 species of shorebird. Below, species is followed by the high count and date.
Black-bellied Plover - 69, August 23 (still nearly all molting adults).
American Golden-Plover - 3, August 20.
Semipalmated Plover - 137, August 23 (nearly all hatch-year birds now).
Killdeer - Single birds on multiple dates.
Spotted Sandpiper - 1 juvenile. August 20.
Greater Yellowlegs - 162, August 26.
Lesser Yellowlegs - 62, August 26.
Whimbrel - 25, August 22.
Hudsonian Godwit - 315, August 22.
Marbled Godwit - 9, August 22.
Ruddy Turnstone - 81, August 22.
Red Knot - 151, August 22.
Stilt Sandpiper - 1 juvenile, August 25.
Sanderling - 186, August 22.
Dunlin - 438, August 22.
Least Sandpiper - 85, August 15.
White-rumped Sandpiper - 10,502, August 22. First juvenile on August 28.
Baird's Sandpiper - 11 juveniles, August 21.
Buff-breasted Sandpiper - singles on several days.
Pectoral Sandpiper - 136, August 25.
Semipalmated Sandpiper - 4001, August 25.
Short-billed Dowitcher - 8 juveniles, August 22 .
Wilson's Snipe - 2 seen on several dates.
Wilson's Phalarope - 1 seen on several dates.
Red-necked Phalarope - 6 juveniles, August 17.
Along with the shorebirds, waterfowl numbers are starting to build up as they move south as well.
Snow Goose - first 5 were seen on August 18, high count of 370 on the 24th.
Canada Goose - 1850, August 24.
Brant - 2, August 24.
Northern Pintail - 720, August 28.
Green-winged Teal - 140, August 24.
Raptors showed their first real signs of movement on the 25th.
Northern Harrier - 9, August 25.
Northern Goshawk - singles young birds on several dates.
Broad-winged Hawk - 1 juvenile, August 24-25.
Red-tailed Hawk - 1, August 25.
Other notable species
Black Guillemot - 1, August 23.
Little Gull - 1, August 23-24.
Caspian Tern - 2, August 23.
Arctic Tern - one or two on several days.
Black Tern - 1, August 27.
Northern Saw-whet Owl - 1, August 23.
Common Nighthawk - 5, August 21.
Parasitic Jaeger - 1 adult 23-25 August and 1 juvenile August 26.
Mute Swan - 1 adult, first seen flying south along the coast and later seen flying north. August 19.
Red Crossbill - 2, August 22 (only ones for the period).
Common Redpoll - 2, August 26 (only ones for the period). Finch numbers are particularly low.
Black bear, red squirrel, striped skunk, red fox and shrew sp.
variable darner, lake darner, zig zag darner, subarctic darner, cherry-faced and black meadowhawks, northern spreadwing, forcipate emerald and common whitetail.
white admiral, Atlantis fritillary, painted lady, clouded sulphur, common branded skipper, hoary comma, mourning cloak.
American toad, wood frog, boreal chorus frog.
29 AUGUST – 13 SEPTEMBER
During the period, 121 species of bird were detected in the camp’s census area, which includes 22 species of shorebird. Species followed by the high count and date below.
Black-bellied Plover - 65, 7 September.
American Golden-Plover - 18, 4 September.
Semipalmated Plover - 59 all hatch year birds, 30 August.
Killdeer - 1, 30 August.
Greater Yellowlegs - 173, 2 September.
Lesser Yellowlegs - 23, 2 September.
Whimbrel - 1, 30 August.
Hudsonian Godwit - 594, 30 August. *Never over 100 after this date.
Marbled Godwit - 3, on several dates in the period.
Ruddy Turnstone - 53, 4 September.
Red Knot - 313, 6 September. Only 3 adults observed on this date. Very few Red Knot observed on most other days.
Stilt Sandpiper - 2 juveniles, 4 September.
Sanderling - 268, 8 September.
Dunlin - 5000+ from 7 September onwards.
Least Sandpiper - 25, 5 September.
White-rumped Sandpiper - Numbers dropped off sharply this period with a high count of 964 on 8 September.
Baird's Sandpiper - 2, several dates this period.
Buff-breasted Sandpiper - 2, 11 September.
Pectoral Sandpiper - 315, 7 September.
Semipalmated Sandpiper - 1986, 8 September.
Wilson's Snipe - 12, 11 September.
Red-necked Phalarope - 1, 5 September.
Other birds and highlights
Goose numbers continued to increase throughout the period.
Snow Goose - 803, 9 September.
Canada Goose - 4236, 10 September.
Brant - 4, 8 September.
Cackling Goose - 1 seen on 2 dates.
Tundra Swan - First two seen on 10 September.
*SWAINSON'S HAWK - A light morph juvenile was seen moving south on 9 September.
Long-tailed Jaeger - 3 birds were seen together chasing Bonaparte's Gulls on 1 September.
Parasitic Jaeger - At least 1 bird adult bird seen regularly chasing terns.
Little Gull - 2, 4 September.
Mourning Dove - 1, 31 August, and 2 and 4 September.
Short-eared Owl – 1, 10 September.
Boreal Owl - Heard regularly around camp with 3 (one seen) on 8 September.
Northern Saw-whet Owl - At least 2 birds heard and seen regularly around camp.
At this time of year the shorebirds are joined on the mudflats by Horned Larks in good numbers with a high count of 620 on 20 September. Mixed in with the larks and shorebirds were smaller numbers of American Pipits and Lapland Longspurs. On the morning of 12 September good movements of Swainson's and Gray-cheeked Thrushes were noted coming in off of James Bay at first light, some even landing on the flats with the shorebirds before continuing inland.
Black bear, gray wolf, snowshoe hare, woodland caribou (tracks through camp), red squirrel, striped skunk, red fox and shrew sp.
variable darner, lake darner, zig zag darner, subarctic darner, cherry-faced and black meadowhawks, northern spreadwing, and common whitetail.
Atlantis fritillary, painted lady, clouded sulphur, hoary comma, mourning cloak.
American toad, wood frog, boreal chorus frog