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South Shore (Port Joli sector) (NS004)

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South Shore (Port Joli sector) (NS004)

Liverpool, Nova Scotia

Latitude 43.817°N
Longitude 64.937°W
Altitude 0 - 5m
Area 435.61km²

Site Description

The Port Joli sector of the South Shore is located along the southeast coast of southern Nova Scotia, facing the Atlantic Ocean. The site consists of a long stretch of shoreline between the towns of Rockland, on the west, to Summerville Centre, on the east. Included in this IBA are the following beaches that are of significance for Piping Plovers: Black Point Beach, Matthews Lake Louis Head Beach, Sable River, Johnston Pond, Herbert Rocks, Port L'Hebert, Sandy Cove Beach, Port Joli, Joli Point, St. Catherine's River Beach, Little Port Joli, Cranberry Pond, Wobamkek Beach, and Summerville Beach. Many of the preceding sites back on to tidal basins, which are dry at low tide. This site also features three large inlets consisting of mud flats and eelgrass in the upper reaches they are Port Joli, Port LHebert, and one at the outlet of the Sable River. Rocky shores with reefs separate these inlets. The coastline is irregularly shaped with a few steep headlands, although most bays are shallow.

Birds

This site supports large numbers of breeding Piping Plover (globally vulnerable, and nationally endangered). A total of 35 adults, representing about 1.3% of the estimated total Atlantic population and about 8% of the estimated Atlantic Canada population were recorded at this site in 1996. In 1991, 38 Piping Plovers were recorded at this site.

Canada Geese (from the Newfoundland and Labrador population) are also found at this site in significant numbers during fall and spring migrations, and during the winter. It is thought that one flight of geese passes through in the fall, and that a second flight arrives in early winter and remains there for the winter. Since surveys started in 1914, between 3,000 and 6,000 wintering Canada Geese, representing 2 to 5% of the population, are regularly observed at this site. The most recent survey, in 1999, found 3067 geese, and occasional peaks of over 11,000 birds have been recorded.

In the early 1960s, as many as 15 eastern population Harlequin Ducks (nationally endangered) were observed at this site. An average of only 8 birds was recorded between 1973 and 1996, but then in January 1999, 45 Harlequin Ducks were seen. The American Black Duck is regularly seen here in good numbers (1,612, winter 1999). Other wintering waterfowl include Common Goldeneye, Common Loon and Common Eider.

During the fall migration each year, about 2,000 shorebirds are recorded. In some years, Black-bellied Plovers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Willets, Least Sandpipers, and Pectoral Sandpipers are found in significant numbers (greater than 1% of their respective estimated populations).

Conservation Issues

The accessible sand beaches attract people who often overlook the small numbers of Piping Plovers present here and are therefore sometimes disturbed by these beach-goers.

Serious hunting violations that have occurred in the past are thought not to have affected overall goose numbers. Four federal Migratory Bird Sanctuaries (MBS), Port Joli, Port LHebert, Sable River and Haley Lake, the earliest of which was established in 1915 as a provincial sanctuary, were created for the protection of geese. The borders of these Migratory Bird Sanctuaries have changed several times, owing to the high interest in hunting in the area. The establishment of the Seaside Adjuct portion of Kejimkujik National Park (1986), provincial parks (1970s and 1990s), and the MBSs in this area has probably led to a slowly increasing interest in conservation.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Dovekie
Number Year Season
82014Winter
2962000Winter
161990Winter
Black-headed Gull
Number Year Season
132012Winter
72007Winter
72005Winter
122003Winter
322001Winter
161999Winter
251997Winter
91996Winter
101995Winter
71994Winter
Piping Plover
Number Year Season
52016Fall
62015Fall
92015Spring
4 - 52014Summer
82014Spring
4 - 62013Summer
42013Spring
4 - 82012Fall
4 - 62012Summer
1 - 72011Summer
52009Spring
42008Summer
5 - 92007Summer
52006Fall
1 - 122006Summer
9 - 112005Fall
12 - 212005Summer
4 - 102005Spring
82003Fall
6 - 82003Summer
7 - 92003Spring
4 - 102002Fall
13 - 152002Summer
5 - 72002Spring
62001Fall
1 - 152001Summer
42001Spring
4 - 101996Fall
8 - 351996Summer
5 - 81996Spring
41992Summer
51991Fall
381991Summer
51990Summer
Roseate Tern
Number Year Season
2 - 52008Spring
Harlequin Duck
Number Year Season
2072012Winter
451999Winter
81984Winter
Savannah Sparrow
Number Year Season
202016Spring
302014Fall