KEY NORTH AMERICAN MIGRATION SITES FOR
Red Knots & Semipalmated Sandpipers

Bay of Fundy (includes Shepody Bay, Southern Bight of Minas Basin, Cumberland Basin and Upper Cobequid Bay)

Country: Canada

Region: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick

Nearest city/town: 1) Shepody Bay: New Brunswick, Dorchester & Riverside Albert; 2) Cumberland Basin: New Brunswick, Sackville and Nova Scotia, Amherst; 3) Southern Bight of Minas Basin, Nova Scotia, North Grand Pre; 4) Upper Cobequid Bay, Nova Scotia, Debert & Old Barns

Site: Bay of Fundy (includes Shepody Bay, Southern Bight of Minas Basin, Cumberland Basin and Upper Cobequid Bay)

Species/Sub-species: REKN-rufa, SESA

Total biogeographic population: 42,000 (rufa, )2,260,000 (SESA)1,2,3,4,5,6,7,89

Count Method: Total estimate (rufa), Total population passage (SESA)

Count: 1,700 (rufa)10, 289,116 (SESA)6

% biogeographic pop. at site: 4.05 (rufa), 12.79 (SESA)

Season (primarily): Fall

Site recognition: WHSRN Ramsar IBA

Site recognition (other): Wetlands of International Importance (1986), provincial Conservation Areas (Nova Scotia) and National Wildlife Areas (Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada), UNESCO World Hersitage site (New Brunswick side)

Site description: Habitat characteristics for this site are coastal (intertidal mud, mudflats). The land is owned federally and provincially by the Province of New Brunswick, the Province of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS). Existing knowledge about the site was derived through research on SESA length of stay, movements, diet and survival, which is ongoing at this site. Shorebird banding at site was carried out as recently as 201411. Work currently underway at the site (2016): Nature Conservancy of Canada is securing land and staffing an interpretation center at Grande Anse (Shepody Bay), CWS is building a visitor and interpretation Center at Mary's Point (Shepody Bay), CWS and Mount Allison University are conducting shorebird research throughout the upper Bay (all 4 sub-sites), the Province of New Brunswick is including Shepoday Bay mudflats in its Protected Areas strategy12, and Bird Studies Canada is evaluating human-use patterns and planning for shorebird habitat conservation at four key resting sites used by thousands of shorebirds during peak migration in the Minas Basin.

Known threats: The threat of energy production and mining in the form of renewable energy (specifically windfarms) is moderate. In terms of site land use change, the threat of natural system modification through dams and water management use (dam size unknown) and dikes and levees is moderate, while the threat of other ecosystem modification is low. The Bay of Fundy is extremely dynamic because of the large tides and the prey assemblage in each mudflat can change rapidly and dramatically. It is not something that can be addressed; it is just the nature of the bay. However, dams and causeways can have impacts on the prey base by changing the tidal flow and sediment deposition rate. The threat of pollution at the site from herbicides and pesticides and from domestic and urban waste water (type unknown/unrecorded) is moderate. Toxic chemicals in the form of herbicides and pesticides which originate from farming activities along tidal rivers wash into these rivers and accumulate in intertidal areas and especially build up in the tissues of intertidal invertebrates (e.g. the burrowing amphipod Corophium volutator and the small clam Macoma balthica) which are, in turn, ingested by sandpipers and plovers where these chemicals build up in their tissues with unknown consequences. The threat of pollution from industrial and military effluents (oil spills) and siltation is low. Human intrusions and disturbance also represent a moderate threat in terms of recreational activities (ATVs) and work and other activities. Climate change threatens the physical alteration of the site through severe weather: storms and floods are a moderate threat, and habitat shifting and alteration are a low threat.13,14

Notes: The current boundaries of the WHSRN site include Shepody Bay West and Southern Bight, Minas Basin. A revision is exploring if the boundaries need to be expanded to include the other important locations in this area (Cumberland Basin and Upper Cobequid Bay). The boundary of the site includes the WHSRN site and IBA delimitations for Cumberland Basin and Upper Cobequid Bay.7,11.

Sources: 1Andres, B.A., P.A. Smith, R.I.G. Morrison, C.L. Gratto-Trevor, S.C. Brown, and C.A. Friis. 2012. Population estimates of North American shorebirds. Wader Study Group Bulletin 119(3): 178-194 2eBird 3International Shorebird Survey 4Lock, A.R., R.G.B. Brown,and S.H. Gerriets. 1994. Gazetteer of Marine Birds in Atlantic Canada: an atlas of sea bird vulnerability to oil pollution. Canadian Wildlife Service Environmental Conservation Branch, Environment Canada Atlantic Region. 5MacTavish, B. 1995. American Birding Association. Field Notes, 49(5) 6Mawhinney, K., P.W. Hicklin, and J.S. Boates. 1993. A Re-evaluation of the Numbers of Migrant Semipalmated Sandpipers, Calidris pusilla, in the Bay of Fundy during Fall migration. The Canadian Field-Naturalist, 107: 19-23 7BirdLife International. 2016. Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas factsheets: North America. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on January 17, 2016. 8WHSRN site nomination form. 92011-2014 average of total passage population (J. Paquet unpubl. data) 10 Hicklin, P. W. 1987. The migration of shorebirds in the Bay of Fundy. Wilson Bulletin. 99:540-570. 11Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN). 1987. WHSRN Site Profiles: Bay of Fundy. Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, Manomet, Massachusetts. http://www.whsrn.org/site-profile/bay-fundy, accessed 16 February 2016. 12Julie Paquet March 2016 13Site Assesment Tool analysis 2011 14Einfeldt, A. L. and Addison, J. A. (2015), Anthropocene invasion of an ecosystem engineer: resolving the history of Corophium volutator (Amphipoda: Corophiidae) in the North Atlantic. Biol J Linn Soc Lond, 115: 288–304. doi:10.1111/bij.12507