Migration season peaking at Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Johnson’s Mills Shorebird Interpretive Centre
145,000 sandpipers on Bay of Fundy stopover
The peak of the semipalmated sandpiper migration on the Bay of Fundy has started: as of August 7, an estimated 145,000 sandpipers are resting and feeding near the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC's) Shorebird Interpretive Centre at Johnson’s Mills. The number of birds is expected to remain high for the next two to three weeks, as the sandpipers refuel for their three-day, non-stop journey to South America.
The Johnson’s Mills area has been recognized nationally and internationally for its importance to migratory shorebirds: it is Canada’s first Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve as well as a Ramsar wetland (Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance).
“This is the most amazing time of the summer for visitors to see one of the most awe-inspiring natural sights in New Brunswick,” says Kerry Lee Morris-Cormier, Nature Conservancy of Canada staff and manager of the Shorebird Interpretive Centre. “As a charitable organization, we are so proud of the work we do at Johnson’s Mills to help ensure the survival of semipalmated sandpipers and to give people the opportunity to experience this extraordinary migration.”
More than 30 per cent of the world's population of semipalmated sandpipers can be seen in the upper Bay of Fundy, and for most of these birds it’s the only stop on their migration from the Canadian Arctic to their southern wintering grounds. Although total populations of shorebirds remain high, the general trend is concerning: according to the State of North America’s Birds Report 2016, some species of migratory shorebirds have declined by as much as 70 per cent.
Habitat loss is a key threat, which makes protected areas like Johnson’s Mills even more critical to the shorebirds’ long-term survival. NCC began protecting critical migratory stopover habitat at Johnson’s Mills in 1994. Since then, the not-for-profit land trust has expanded the nature reserve to 562 acres (224 hectares) and continues to seek both financial and land donations to enlarge the conservation area.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada operates the Johnson’s Mills Shorebird Interpretive Centre seven days a week during July and August. The Centre is located at 2724 Route 935, 8 kilometres from Dorchester. Admission is by donation to support ongoing conservation projects.
The best time of day to visit Johnson’s Mills is during a four-hour window: from two hours before high tide to two hours after high tide. Call the Centre at 506-379-6347 for more details or check the 2017 tide table on the Johnson’s Mills webpage.
The 2017 season at Johnson’s Mills will wrap up on September 6th, World Shorebirds Day, with a celebration to mark the 30th anniversary of the Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network designation.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect 2.8 million acres (more than 1.1 million hectares), coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved more than 73,000 acres (29,500 hectares) in Atlantic Canada.
Johnson’s Mills Shorebird Interpretive Centre is one of 20 sites across Canada selected to be featured on NCC’s new Nature Destinations website. Through Nature Destinations, the Nature Conservancy of Canada is showcasing its most outstanding landscapes and wildlife habitats for visitors to explore. To learn more, visit naturedestinations.ca.
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