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Quoddy Region (NB037)

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Quoddy Region (NB037)

Wilson's Beach/Plage Wilson, New Brunswick

Latitude 44.944°N
Longitude 66.935°W
Altitude 0m
Area 129.96km²

Site Description

The Quoddy region IBA is a body of seawater, primarily in Canadian waters, found in southern coastal New Brunswick. The IBA encompasses all the waters in an area roughly bounded by: Eastport, Maine, the west side of Campobello Island to East Quoddy Head, White Horse Island, and the east side of Deer Island to Deer Island Point. This includes an area called Head Harbour Passage. Upwellings and areas of high productivity occur here because of strong currents created by the narrow passages that lead through to Passamaquoddy Bay.

Birds

Large feeding congregations of several species of waterbirds are found in the Quoddy region in the fall and winter. During fall migration, globally significant numbers of Bonapartes Gulls pass through the region. The migration of the species is drawn out, with non-breeding birds arriving in the Quoddy region as early as June and a few adults lingering as late as January. Birds arrive in a succession of waves, and remain in the area for several weeks, during which time they substantially increase their body weight. A boat survey in December 1998 found 6,030 gulls near Head Harbour Passage, while in the late summer of the same year, a minimum of 3,500 Bonapartes Gulls were observed and an estimated 5,300 were thought to be present. These numbers are between 1 and 2% of the global population. Additionally, estimates from the early 1980s indicate that this species may peak at 10,000 birds in the late summer, while an even higher recent estimate of over 25,000 Bonapartes Gulls comes from November 1997.

December also brings impressive numbers of other larids. Christmas Bird Counts based out of Eastport recorded an average of 5,175 Herring Gulls and 1,393 Great Black-backed Gulls over the 1995-1999 period. The vast majority of these birds were within the IBA. The Herring Gull average includes 14,531 birds that were seen in 1996; this was an unusual year, when an exceptionally high peak of 65,637 Black-legged Kittiwakes were also seen. Typical early winter numbers of kittiwakes are usually in the hundreds or low thousands. The averages above represent 1 or 2% of the North American Herring Gull population and 1% of the North American Great Black-backed Gull population. Oldsquaw and Common Eider are other common wintering birds, while scoters are present in summer.

Until recently, immense numbers of Red-necked Phalaropes congregated in the Quoddy region. Typical numbers seemed to have ranged from the hundreds of thousands to a million, but two million were also reported. A primary food source of the phalaropes was euphausiid shrimp, which will swarm at the surface of the water. Its not known if the reason that large numbers of phalaropes have not been seen since the early 1980s is due to a change in this food source or for some other reason.

Northern Gannet had not been recorded breeding on the coasts of New Brunswick or Nova Scotia since the mid 19th century, but in 1999 for the first time since then, an adult bird was found brooding a chick on White Horse Island.

Conservation Issues

It will be crucial to understand the causes of the large fluctuations in surface feeders seen at this site before any conservation efforts can be undertaken in the Quoddy region.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Red-necked Phalarope
Number Year Season
300,0001983Fall
100,0001982Fall
35,000 - 770,0001981Fall
1,000,0001980Fall
15,0001978Fall
2,000,0001977Fall
100,0001971Fall
Bonaparte's Gull
Number Year Season
3,0002016Fall
5,0002015Fall
4,000 - 5,0002014Fall
3,000 - 5,0002012Fall
3,0002011Winter
3,000 - 6,0002011Fall
6,0002010Fall
6,0002008Fall
4,0002005Fall
6701999Winter
6,0301998Winter
3,500 - 5,3001998Fall
25,0001997Fall
10,0001985Fall
Manx Shearwater
Number Year Season
36 - 802012Fall
8 - 442012Summer
Black-headed Gull
Number Year Season
221995Winter
Herring Gull
Number Year Season
3,0002015Fall
3,0002011Fall
5,0002009Fall
3,5791999Winter
2,0441998Winter
4,0831997Winter
14,5311996Winter
1,6381995Winter
3,0561994Winter
11,1151993Winter
Black-legged Kittiwake
Number Year Season
7641999Winter
745 - 3,2021998Winter
131997Winter
65,6371996Winter
5211995Winter
2,9351994Winter
1,8681993Winter
Little Gull
Number Year Season
22016Fall
22015Fall
22014Fall
2 - 32011Winter
22011Fall
32010Fall
32009Winter
42009Fall
22008Fall
11994Winter
Great Black-backed Gull
Number Year Season
7961999Winter
9541998Winter
1,8441997Winter
2,9321996Winter
4401995Winter
7671994Winter
2,1171993Winter
Razorbill
Number Year Season
1,0002016Winter