Red Knots & Semipalmated Sandpipers

Mingan Archipelago

Country: Canada

Region: Quebec,

Nearest city/town: Havre-Saint-Pierre

Site: Mingan Archipelago

Species/Sub-species: REKN-rufa, SESA

Total biogeographic population: 42,000 (rufa), 2,260,000 (SESA)

Count Method: Superpopulation estimate approach, total passage population, total estimate

Count: 7,200 (rufa)1, 100,000 (SESA)2

% biogeographic pop. at site: 17.14 (rufa), 4.42 (SESA)

Season (primarily): Fall

Site recognition (other): WHSRN candidate, National Park Reserve of Canada, Wildlife Habitat and Waterfowl Gathering Area

Site description: Using the Ramsar Classification System for Wetland Type, the site habitat characteristics are coastal (intertidal mud and sand). The site is mostly rocky flats of limestone, with no mud or sand shores, and marine and coastal (rocky marine shores, including rocky offshore islands and sea cliffs). Shorebirds feed on mollusks and snails in the intertidal zone. Forty distinct islands have popped up here so far, the largest ones on the western end of the archipelago, along with more than 1,000 granite islets and reefs. The islands most important for shorebirds are those that are limestone, with Niapiskau being the easternmost and ÎLe aux Perroquets the westernmost. Land ownership is federal (Parks Canada) and provincial. The site is a National Park Reserve, which means that there is still a fair amount of work and the ownership has to be validated with Parks Canada. The land part of the islands is under Federal jurisdiction while the water and therefore the exposed flats at low tide are likely of provincial jurisdiction. The Mingan Islands are fundamental to the cultural and spiritual identity of the local Innu Nation. The Park probably does not include Salmon River and it is a National Park Reserve not a National Park which could make a difference for designation but this should be confirmed with the Parks Canada Director. The Park is not an official IBA; an agreement had yet to be signed in 2016 and this lack of IBA status is a very sensitive point for the local communities who were not consulted before the first meeting some years ago (before 2006). Work currently underway at the site in 2016 included bird banding3,3.

Known threats: Pollution and contamination are threats to the site in terms of potential oil spills from commercial maritime boat traffic (e.g. cruise ships, fishermen and recreation boats, and boats carrying mineral for destinations up-river and oversea). Damaging recreational use is also a threat in terms of human intrusions and disturbance due to tourism, other recreational activities and work and other activities.3

Notes: The local community needs to be consulted on the draft boundaries for this site. The late Dr. Baker estimated that over 6,000 REKN-rufa transited in 2007 and 7,200 in 2008 (he used some basic statistical analysis). But according to Jim Lyon (Patuxent) who is revising the data with a more robust statistical approach (superpopulation methods), there would have been about 9,000 birds transiting in 2008. Specific counts include:
1) REKN-rufa: 9,0005 (superpopulation estimate approach), 21.4 (% of biogeographic population), fall
2) REKN-rufa: 7,2001 (total passage population), 17.14 (% of biogeographic population), fall
3) SESA: 100,0006 (total estimate), 4.42 (% of biogeographic population), fall

Sources: 1Baker, A.J. 2009. Continuing Monitoring Annual Survival and Recruitment in the Endangered Red Knot Population Passing through Mingan Archipelago (Project #1440). Unpublished report submitted to World Wildlife Fund, Toronto, Canada. 2Based on anecdotal evidence. "In 2014 we observed (cumulative number no adjustment for length of stay) over 146,000 shorebirds. Taking into account length of stay could give an estimate that would qualify the site for a high WHSRN level category." Yves Aubrey, CWS, Feb 2016. 3Yves Aubry, Feb 2016 (pers.comm.) 5Jim Lyons (Patuxent) is revising the data with a more robust statistical approach. There would have been about 9000 birds transiting in 2008. 6In 2014 over 146,000 shorebirds were observed (cumulative number no adjustment for length of stay) . A good estimate with length of stay could give a figure that could qualify the site for a high WHSRN level category. Yves Aubrey, CWS, Feb 2016.