Begin forwarded message:
> From: "Jean Iron" <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: August 14, 2010 7:45:25 PM EDT
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: [Ontbirds] James Bay Shorebirds, Ontario #5
> This is Jean Iron's fifth report by satellite phone for the period 7-13
> August 2010 from Longridge Point, Ontario, on southern James Bay. The
> Red Knot and shorebird survey are led by Mark Peck of the Royal Ontario
> Museum. Partners are the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Trent
> University and the Canadian Wildlife Service.
> SHOREBIRD OBSERVATIONS: For most species only the high count day is
> given below in checklist order. Date for the first juveniles are noted.
> Black-bellied Plover: 163 molting adults on 9 August, some mostly in
> alternate plumage, others well molted to basic plumage.
> American Golden-Plover: 9 molting adults on 8 August.
> Semipalmated Plover: 237 mostly adults on 9 August, first juvenile on
> 8th. No banded birds.
> Killdeer: 39 on 9 August.
> Spotted Sandpiper: 1 juvenile on 10 August.
> Solitary Sandpiper: 2 juveniles on 9 August.
> Greater Yellowlegs: 130 on 9 August, 60 percent juveniles. Slow shift
> from adults to juveniles.
> Lesser Yellowlegs: 572 mostly juveniles on 9 August. Rapid shift from
> adults to juveniles.
> Whimbrel: 52 adults on 6 August with numbers dropping off.
> Hudsonian Godwit: 970 molting adults on 9 August. James Bay is the most
> important southbound staging area for Hudsonian Godwits.
> Marbled Godwit: 8 juveniles on 7 August and 7 on 9th. Small numbers
> breed on Akimiski Island and in the prairie-like marshes of southwestern
> James Bay.
> Ruddy Turnstone: 604 mostly adults on 10 August, first juvenile on 5th.
> RED KNOT: 1382 molting adults on 6 August, adult numbers dropped off
> with 178 on 7th increasing to 672 on 13th. First juvenile knot on 9
> August, 8 on 13th.
> Sanderling: 36 molting adults on 13 August.
> Semipalmated Sandpiper: 4715 mostly juveniles on 10 August. Rapid shift
> from adults to juveniles.
> WESTERN SANDPIPER: 1 adult was seen by Doug McRae.
> Least Sandpiper: 264 juveniles on 9 August, 1 adult on 13th. Rapid shift
> from adults to juveniles.
> White-rumped Sandpiper: 7541 molting adults on 10 August. Juveniles are
> late migrants.
> Baird's Sandpiper: 1 juvenile on 8 August was the first and another on
> Pectoral Sandpiper: 695 adults on 9 August, first juvenile on 8th.
> Dunlin: 127 mostly adults on 13 August, first juveniles (2) on 10th.
> Stilt Sandpiper: 2 molting adults on 9 August.
> Short-billed Dowitcher: 12 juveniles on 9 August. Rapid shift from
> adults to juveniles.
> Wilson's Snipe: 10 on 10 August.
> Wilson's Phalarope: 4 juveniles on 7 August and 6 juveniles on 8th.
> Small numbers breed in the prairie-like marshes of James Bay.
> Red-necked Phalarope: 8 on 7 August included 5 molting adults and 3
> OTHER BIRDS: This is not a complete list. Brant, 1, probably summered on
> James Bay. Canada Goose. Gadwall. American Wigeon. American Black Duck.
> Mallard. Northern Shoveler. Northern Pintail. Green-winged Teal. Greater
> Scaup. Lesser Scaup. Surf Scoter. White-winged Scoter. Black Scoter,
> 1042 mostly molting males on 10 August was only day with high numbers.
> Bufflehead. Common Goldeneye. Common Merganser. Red-breasted Merganser.
> Double-crested Cormorant. American Bittern, 2 on 10 and 11 August. Great
> Blue Heron. Bald Eagle. Northern Harrier. Merlin, family group of 2
> adults and 3 juveniles hunting shorebirds. American Kestrel, 1 juvenile
> or female on 13 August. Yellow Rail, last heard actively ticking on 10
> August. Little Gull, 1 that has almost completed its molt to second
> basic plumage. Bonaparte's Gull, 1647 molting adults on 9 August and
> only 10-12 juveniles, the low number of juveniles suggests that many are
> still on the breeding grounds or have migrated south. Common and Arctic
> Terns feeding juveniles with a ratio of 13 Common to 8 Arctic. Caspian
> Tern, 5 or 6 most days. Parasitic Jaeger, 2 light morph adults on 10 and
> 11 August. Long-eared Owl, 4 on 6 August were probably a family group.
> Short-eared Owl is seen regularly over the marshes. Common Nighthawk, 1
> on 9 August. Black-backed Woodpecker, 1 on 13 August. Western
> Meadowlark, 1 probable on 8 August, photos taken which will be examined
> later. Le Conte's and Nelson's Sparrows, singing has dropped off
> noticeably to almost no song now. White-winged Crossbill, 49 on 9
> August. Common Redpoll, 8 on 7 August.
> HUDSON BAY REPORT: The following report is from Ken Abraham of the
> Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. "The melt was very early this
> year. The phenology of goose nesting seems to have responded accordingly
> with a very early laying and hatch. Nest success in our study areas was
> below average because of very high predation rates. I wasn't in a
> position to get any evidence of duck or swan reproduction this year. We
> did not do a survey of molting scoters this year, so I have no
> explanation for the lack of scoters off Longridge Point. We've been
> speculating about possible differences in weather patterns, winds or
> water temperatures, but we don't have any data. I was on Southampton
> Island from July 20-30. I spent a week at East Bay and a few days in
> Coral Harbour doing vegetation surveys and trying to evaluate the role
> of geese in the changes that have occurred there in the last 30 years.
> All four species of geese (snows, cackling, brant and Ross's) seemed to
> have a good year with nest success in the 60-80% range for the first
> three and relatively early hatching; brood sizes ranged from 1-5 but
> seemed to average about 2. We had a couple of broods of Red Knots with
> half grown chicks at the beginning of that period. We also saw several
> broody White-rumped Sandpipers and Ruddy Turnstones. Those broods would
> probably have fledged sometime near the end of July or the first week of
> August. The King Eiders had broods, but the number of young in the
> creches seemed to be fairly low. We saw a few flocks of Whimbrels but
> according to the crew who had been there, they were the first of the
> summer so they may have been post breeding."
> MAMMALS: Beluga, 2 adults on 13 August, Mike McMurtry took a tissue
> sample from dead young Beluga for DNA and toxicology analyses. A
> melanistic Red Fox on 11 August. Few small mammals are being seen, but
> sightings of Northern Harriers, Short-eared and Long-eared Owls, suggest
> that voles and/or shrews are present in sufficient numbers or they're
> also eating birds. Red Squirrel.
> BUTTERFLIES: New species since the last report are Orange Sulphur,
> Pink-edged Sulphur, Palaeno Sulphur, Bog Copper and Summer Azure. Don
> Sutherland reports that butterfly diversity is low this summer, which he
> attributes to variable and wet weather.
> DRAGONFLIES: A sample: Cherry-faced Meadowhawk, Black Meadowhawk, Canada
> Darner, Sedge Darner.
> Southern James Bay map shows location of Longridge Point
> Next report will be about 10 days when Jean is home. The crew was to fly
> out to Moosonee on 15 August, but the helicopter was delayed in Ungava.
> They are now expected to be picked up on the 17th depending on the
> weather. The next day they take the 5 hour train ride from Moosonee to
> Cochrane where they will overnight. Then on the third day it's a 10 hour
> drive to Toronto and Peterborough. Their trip reminds me of the 1987
> comedy movie "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" starring Steve Martin and
> John Candy.
> Ron Pittaway
> Minden, Ontario
> ONTBIRDS is presented by the Ontario Field Ornithologists - the provincial birding organization.
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