Full Site

Shepody Bay West (NB009)

Search

Shepody Bay West (NB009)

Bay of Fundy/Baie de Fundy, New Brunswick

Latitude 45.690°N
Longitude 64.704°W
Altitude 0 - 35m
Area 290.63km²

Site Description

Shepody Bay is a large tidal embayment at the western head of the Bay of Fundy. It, along with the rest of the Bay of Fundy, has the highest tides in the world (up to 16 m). It contains vast areas of intertidal mud flats such as Daniels Flats, which extend up to 4 km seaward. A narrow band of salt marsh, which was drained and is now used for haying, lies adjacent to the flats. Sand and gravel beaches stretch for 107 ha to the north of Marys Point, a finger of land that separates Shepody Bay and Chignecto Bay further south. To the south of Marys Point are 940 ha of intertidal mud flats, called the New Horton flats. The Shepody Bay National Wildlife Area (which includes a freshwater marsh), Daniels Flats, Marys Point and the New Horton flats are all included in this site, along with Grindstone Island, and Cape Enragé, a major headland to the south, which juts into Chignecto Bay.

Birds

The mudflats and tidal marshes at the head of the Bay of Fundy are considered one of the most important stopover sites for shorebirds in eastern North America. The availability of high densities of the birds main prey, the mud shrimp (Corophium volutator) is thought to attract between 50 to 95% of the world total of Semipalmated Sandpipers, along with many other species of shorebirds, to the Bay of Fundy as a whole (this IBA and several others).

In the Shepody Bay west section of the bay, over the six week fall migratory period, a total of 269,445 Semipalmated Sandpipers have been estimated to stopover in the area prior to completing the final leg of migration over the Atlantic Ocean to reach wintering areas in South America. This figure accounts for at least 7.7% of the total population, and is based on data from 1974 to 1983 using an improved estimation method that was reported in Canadian Field Naturalist (1993).

Numerous other species of shorebirds migrate through the Bay of Fundy, foraging on the flats. Some of the most significant species are Semipalmated Plover, Short-billed Dowitcher, Red Knot, Sanderling, and Least Sandpiper. Possibly 2% of the North American population of Semipalmated Plovers are seen in the Shepody Bay West section. Many White-rumped Sandpipers and Dunlin are also present. A count of 1,208 Black-bellied Plovers approaches global significance.

On Grindstone Island, there are colonies of breeding Great Blue Heron, Double-crested Cormorant, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull and a few Common Eiders. Cape Enrage is becoming known as an excellent site to view migrating raptors and seabirds. A pair of Peregrine Falcons (most likely of the nationally threatened ssp. anatum) were recorded breeding on the coastal cliffs in the 1990s.

Conservation Issues

The Shepody Bay and Marys Point area was the first site in Canada to be declared a Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve, under the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) in 1987. These areas were separately designated as Ramsar sites and Wetlands of International Importance in 1987 and 1982, respectively. The Nature Conservancy of Canada is securing land at New Horton and has already protected 69 acres.

Approximately 107 ha of Marys Point has been designated part of the Shepody National Wildlife Area, This part is under a management plan, which includes a no-hunting regulation. Interpretation focussed on the staging shorebirds at Marys Point has been ongoing since 1980. However, if the growing number of visitors viewing the roosting flocks are left uncontrolled, significant disturbance to the staging shorebirds could occur.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Number Year Season
30,0002016Fall
20,000 - 30,0002015Fall
100,0002013Fall
16,000 - 35,0002012Fall
60,0002010Fall
20,000 - 55,0002008Fall
45,0002007Fall
25,0002007Summer
20,000 - 75,0002006Fall
80,0002005Fall
30,000 - 70,0002004Fall
50,000 - 100,0002003Fall
40,0002002Fall
40,000 - 75,0002001Fall
25,0002001Summer
60,000 - 90,0002000Fall
30,000 - 50,0001999Fall
75,0001996Fall
25,000 - 40,0001995Fall
70,000 - 75,0001994Fall
45,0001994Summer
50,000 - 100,0001993Fall
20,0001992Fall
1,122,0001991Fall
120,0001981Fall
150,0001980Fall
100,0001979Fall
100,000 - 269,4451978Fall
350,0001977Fall
150,0001976Fall
Semipalmated Plover
Number Year Season
2,0002013Fall
3,0002004Fall
1,2002000Fall
1,500 - 3,0001998Fall
1,200 - 1,5001993Fall
8751990Fall
6001976Fall
Red-throated Loon
Number Year Season
4852013Spring
419 - 4262012Spring
784 - 1,2802011Spring
Black Scoter
Number Year Season
10,5302016Spring
3,000 - 6,5002013Spring