> From: "Jean Iron" <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: August 7, 2010 7:12:57 PM EDT
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: [Ontbirds] James Bay Shorebirds, Ontario #4
> This is Jean Iron's fourth report by satellite phone for the period 1-6
> August 2010 from Longridge Point on the south coast of James Bay. Jean
> is a volunteer with the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) surveying the
> endangered rufa subspecies of the Red Knot and other shorebirds. The
> crew is led by Mark Peck (ROM) who is a Canadian member of the
> international team studying knots in the Americas. Other surveyors are
> Don Sutherland and Mike McMurtry of the Ontario Ministry of Natural
> Resources (OMNR), Doug McRae (ROM volunteer), Lisa Pollock (Trent
> University/OMNR) and Ray Ford (writer).
> Ontario's coastline of James Bay measures about 560 kilometres or 350
> miles. The coast is extremely flat and intersected by several large
> rivers and many streams. The southern coast is characterized by long
> narrow promontories such as Longridge Point, wide tidal flats, shoals,
> sandy bays, extensive brackish marshes and pools. Its importance to
> shorebirds has been compared to the upper Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick.
> SHOREBIRD OBSERVATIONS: 26 species to date. Three Peregrine Falcons
> observed chasing shorebirds on 6 August. It is unlikely that these are
> Tundra Peregrines (subspecies tundrius) which should be much farther
> north at this date. Usually only the high count day is given for each
> species in checklist order.
> Black-bellied Plover: 212 adults on 6 August.
> American Golden-Plover: 7 adults on 6 August.
> Semipalmated Plover: 213 adults on 5 August.
> Killdeer: 20 on 3 August were a mix of adults and juveniles.
> Greater Yellowlegs: 206 (1/2 juveniles) on 3 August.
> Lesser Yellowlegs: 434 mostly juveniles on 6 August.
> Solitary Sandpiper: 2 on 1 August.
> Spotted Sandpiper: 12 juveniles on 5 August.
> Whimbrel: 69 adults (not molting) on 5 August. Here is a link to a
> Whimbrel named Chinquapin that on 5 August was migrating south over
> James Bay. Allow a few seconds to download map.
> Hudsonian Godwit: 839 molting adults on 6 August.
> Marbled Godwit: 1
> Ruddy Turnstone: 656 adults and first juvenile on 5 August.
> RED KNOT: 2062 molting adults (no juveniles as of 6 August) on 2 August,
> 2000 on 3rd, 1200 on 6 July indicates about 40 percent departed between
> 3 and 6 August. Some flagged birds stayed 15 days. The migration
> strategy of southbound knots is to gather at a limited number of
> stopover sites such as southern James Bay where they fatten before
> migrating nonstop to the next stopover or wintering grounds.
> Sanderling: 56 molting adults on 6 August, some with considerable rusty.
> A green-flagged bird on the 6th was banded in New Jersey or Delaware,
> United States.
> Semipalmated Sandpiper: 3049 mostly adults on 6 August, very few
> juveniles to date.
> Least Sandpiper: 162 juveniles on 6 August.
> White-rumped Sandpiper: 7576 molting adults on 6 August. The most
> abundant shorebird.
> Pectoral Sandpiper: 1584 adults (not molting) on 6 August.
> Dunlin: 87 adults on 5 August not yet showing signs of molt.
> Short-billed Dowitcher: 15 juveniles on 6 August.
> Wilson's Snipe: 11 on 6 August. Flushed while walking.
> Wilson's Phalarope: 1 juvenile on 4 and 5 August.
> Red-necked Phalarope: 1 on 3 August, 2 on 4th, 1 adult on 6th.
> OTHER BIRDS: American White Pelican, 126 on 1 August. This pelican is
> expanding eastward as a breeder and only recently have numbers occurred
> on James Bay. Northern Harrier, 2 juveniles on 5 and 6 August. Northern
> Goshawk, 1 juvenile on 1 and 3 August, 1 adult on 6th. Merlin, 5 are now
> hunting shorebirds, likely the adults and juveniles of the local nesting
> pair. Yellow Rails heard daily. Little Gull, Don Sutherland on 2 August
> watched an adult feeding a begging juvenile suggesting nearby nesting, 2
> juvenile Little Gulls on 3 August. The main breeding area of Little
> Gulls in North America is likely the Hudson Bay Lowlands between James
> Bay and Churchill, Manitoba. Bonaparte's Gull, both adults and juveniles
> noted, many adults are in wing molt. This suggests that an unknown
> number of adult Bonaparte's undergo prebasic molt in northern Ontario.
> There is usually an influx of adult Bonaparte's Gulls in November on the
> Niagara River associated with strong cold fronts. Perhaps some these
> birds come from northern stopover lakes with abundant minnows such as
> Lake Abitibi and Lake Nipissing. Adult Bonaparte's molt and stay in
> large numbers to freeze-up on Lake Simcoe in those years that minnows,
> particularly Emerald Shiners, are abundant. Arctic Tern, 1 juvenile on 6
> August. Arctic Tern greatly outnumbers Common Tern on southern James
> Bay. 15 species of warblers near camp with many still feeding young
> recently out of the nest. Le Conte's and Nelson's Sparrows seen daily.
> White-winged Crossbill, seen and heard daily with high of 53 on 4 July,
> some are singing indicating probable nesting, good cone crop on spruce
> in area. Common Redpolls heard and seen regularly.
> MAMMALS: A Ringed or Harbor Seal was seen "hauled out" at the tip of
> Longridge Point. Caribou on 6 July. River Otter on 5 July. A young
> Snowshoe Hare frequenting camp hasn't been seen since loud screaming was
> heard one night - Great Horned Owl? Lynx?
> BUTTERFLIES: New species since the last report are Long Dash Skipper and
> Clouded Sulphur.
> Map shows the Canadian Arctic is mainly free of ice and snow. It also
> shows James Bay reaching deep into central Canada.
> Photo of Longridge Point extending 7 km into James Bay
> Acknowledgements: I thank Mark Cranford, Fletcher Smith and Alan
> Wormington for information.
> Jean will call again in a week and I'll post another update.
> Ron Pittaway
> Minden, Ontario
> ONTBIRDS is presented by the Ontario Field Ornithologists - the provincial birding organization.
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