SAINT JOHN, NB -- Visitors to the Irving Nature Park in August and September will have the opportunity to learn more about the tiny sandpipers that visit the park during their fall migration, thanks to a joint project of the Irving Nature Park, Saint John Naturalists’ Club (Nature Saint John) and Nature NB.
A Shorebird Talk and Walk public event will be held at the Irving Nature Park on Saturday, August 28 at 2 p.m. Hank Scarth of the Saint John Naturalists’ Club will tell the story of these amazing shorebirds and share tips on how to identify the various species.
“These shorebirds have one of the most fascinating migration stories in nature” said Ray Riddell, President of the Saint John Naturalists’ Club. He noted that the tiny (16.5cm/6.5in) Semipalmated Sandpipers arrive in the Bay of Fundy between late July and late September, where they join several other species of shorebirds to feed on small invertebrates on the Bay’s extensive mud flats. After doubling their weight over a two-week period, they depart on a 72-hour, 3,000-4,000 KM, non-stop flight to South America. “Sadly, the population of the Semipalmated Sandpipers has been declining since the 1970’s, but we are optimistic that by getting as many people as possible interested in the birds, we can help assure that the Irving Nature Park will long continue to be an important stopover site for migrating shorebirds.”
Chrissy Cusack, the Manager of the Irving Nature Park, notes that the Park was established by J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI) to help protect an environmentally significant and endangered area of the Fundy coast. “We welcome thousands of visitors each year who come to enjoy and experience the Park’s great diversity in ecosystems, such as our salt marsh, forests, and beaches. This project is important as it will help bring awareness to our visitors of the presence of these amazing shorebirds and how they can help ensure the shorebirds migration story is a successful one. Educating park visitors on the importance of not disturbing roosting (resting) shorebirds found on the beach during high tides will be a key focus of this project. In addition, the Irving Nature Park will establish shorebird awareness signs along Saints Rest Beach, as part of educating the public on the sensitivity around the migrating shorebirds during their time at the Park.”
J.D. Irving, Limited supports a fully funded calendar of outdoor experiences at the Irving Nature Park.
Vanessa Roy-McDougall, Executive Director of Nature NB notes that this broader area is designated as an “Important Bird and Biodiversity Area”. “The coastline and mudflats in this area play a vital role as a feeding and resting site for migrating shorebirds. We support the Saint John Naturalists’ Club in their efforts to engage and inform the public on the importance of the Bay of Fundy for shorebirds during their incredible annual migration.”
For more information about the August 28 public event, please contact the Irving Nature Park at 506-653-7367.
For more information:
Saint John Naturalists’ Club
Hank Scarth, Project Coordinator
Irving Nature Park
Vanessa Roy-McDougall, Executive Director
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