YOU SHOULD KNOW: Millions of shorebirds depend on the Bay of Fundy and they need protection

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Semipalmated Sandpiper, occurs in large flocks...

Semipalmated Sandpiper, occurs in large flocks with Western Sandpipers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having been involved and concerned about the proposals for LNG terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay, I try to follow current information on the last remaining proposal by Downeast LNG. Currently the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is reviewing DLNG’s environmental submissions. Work done by Stantec showed virtually no shorebird presence at Mill Cove, Robbinston, ME, and hence no concern. Frankly something didn’t smell right to me. So I sent a question to Save Passamaquoddy Bay researcher Robert Godfrey inquiring about the dates for the field work.

While the Quoddy Region does not get the numbers that occur on the mudflats of the inner Bay of Fundy. All of those millions of birds stop by shores at the mouth of the Bay on their migrations north and south … so huge flocks can be seen when they are passing through particularly in late July through to early September.

Well, it seems Stantec did their field work in mid-July and mid-September which would be before and after the main flocks pass through. It might be an error. But you be the Judge!

As you can see below in the information from speciesatrisk.ca, the Bay of Fundy is vital to the survival of millions of seabirds. Inappropriate development that threatens this ecosystem should not be tolerated, let alone anything that looks manipulative in research data and application reports.

My thoughts today. Art

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Fall Shorebird Migration

Millions of shorebirds, including 75% (over 2,500,000) of the world’s population of Semipalmated sandpipers use Fundy’s inter-tidal and coastal areas.

Over twenty of Canada’s 47 shorebird species, pass through Atlantic Canada annually in late summer and fall, many of which visit Fundy (see list). Migrating shorebirds begin appearing in Fundy in early July. Numbers steadily increase, peaking by mid-August and then declining through to late September. At the height of the migration, enormous flocks of thousands of birds weave across the Fundy skies.

Three sections of the Bay of Fundy support the overwhelming majority of migrating shorebirds: Shepody Bay and Mary’s Point in New Brunswick; and the Minas Basin in Nova Scotia. Features common to these regions are isolated sand cobble beaches and enormous stretches of tidal mud flats.

Fundy is a resting and refuelling stopover. Each year, migratory shorebirds move between arctic nesting areas and southern wintering areas – a total distance of more than 3000 km — in a few long hauls. Migrating shorebirds stop in the region to rest and feed while en route to wintering grounds in South and Central America. Accordingly, the availability of high quality habitat to feed and rest (roost) in the Bay of Fundy is essential to the success of the shorebirds’ fall migration.The Bay of Fundy guest list of shorebirds:

  • Black-bellied plover*
  • American golden plover
  • Semipalmated plover*
  • Greater yellowlegs*
  • Lesser yellowlegs*
  • Solitary sandpiper
  • Willet
  • Spotted sandpiper
  • Upland sandpiper
  • Whimbrel
  • Hudsonian godwit
  • Ruddy turnstone*
  • Red knot*
  • Sanderling*
  • Semipalmated sandpiper*
  • White-rumped sandpiper*
  • Baird’s sandpiper
  • Pectoral sandpiper
  •  Dunlin*
  • Buff-breasted sandpiper
  • Short-billed dowitcher*
  • Long-billeddowitcher* common in Fundy


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