Semipalmated plover, Johnson's Mills, NB (Photo by Mike Dembeck)
An internationally renowned NCC property in Atlantic Canada
Johnson's Mills, New Brunswick is truly a birder's paradise and is well photographed by people around the world. Every summer, massive flocks of shorebirds journey through the Bay of Fundy from the Canadian Arctic before heading to South America. Johnson's Mills becomes the stage for one of nature's great spectacles as its beaches serve as a temporary stopover for more flocks of shorebirds numbering up to a quarter million individual birds.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) owns 472 acres (191 hectares) in the area and actively promotes conservation, education and stewardship on-site. We operate an interpretive centre in July and August so visitors can respectfully enjoy the magnificent conservation area.
Johnson's Mills at a glance
- Johnson's Mills is located near Dorchester New Brunswick, 35 kilometres south of Moncton.
- It earned international prominence when it was added to the Ramsar list of Wetlands of International Importance.
- It was also designated as Canada's first Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve.
- The pebble beach and mudflats make the area the perfect resting place for migratory shorebirds.
Approximately 80 percent of the world's population of semipalmated sandpipers stop at the Upper Bay of Fundy to feed and rest.
In just a few weeks, The birds double their weight by eating the mudshrimp exposed at low tide before departing for South America.
Other shorebirds commonly observed include:
- semipalmated plover
- least sandpiper
- black-bellied plovers
- white-rumped sandpiper
- ruddy turnstone
Treading light around the shorebirds
During their short stay, it is imperative that the birds be able to feed and rest undisturbed. They are most vulnerable at high tide when they need to rest on the beach.
Shorebirds are easily startled and something as simple as a passer-by can scare them into flight, depleting the fat stores the sandpipers and other birds need for their long flight south.
NCC, with the help of Conservation Volunteers, has planted native trees and strategically placed shrubs that will further develop the protected area. This is in addition to purchasing the land surrounding the beach.
NCC aims to ensure that the shorebirds have a successful respite with minimal stress before making their non-stop 4300 kilometre flight to South America.
Our vision for Johnson's Mills
NCC is currently responsible for 24 properties and wishes to secure additional lands at Johnson's Mills. Since 1994, NCC has worked with partners and willing landowners to obtain critical shoreline areas. Stewardship remains a key focus and NCC is currently raising money for an endowment fund and for future land securement. This fund will provide for the on-going management of all of the area properties, as well as for the Interpretive Centre.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada wishes to recognize and thank the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund (NBWTF) for its generous and ongoing support of our work at Johnson's Mills. Financial contributions from NBWTF for NCC projects over many years have been instrumental in helping us carry out our conservation and stewardship efforts. For more information on the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund, visit: www.nbwtf.ca
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