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Long Point Peninsula and Marshes (ON001)

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Long Point Peninsula and Marshes (ON001)

Port Rowan, Ontario

Latitude 42.591°N
Longitude 80.307°W
Altitude 173 - 181m
Area 241.49km²

Site Description

The Long Point site includes the Long Point Peninsula, Long Point Inner Bay and the Turkey Point and Big Creek marshes. Extending 32 km into Lake Erie, the Long Point Peninsula is the longest freshwater sandspit in the world. With an area of approximately 105,000 ha, it is constantly changing due to the continuous deposition and erosion of sediments through wind and wave erosion. The peninsula itself is a series of alternating ridges that are separated by ponds and swales. These wetlands and associated sand dunes are the best remaining example of this type of ecosystem in the Great Lakes basin.

Protected from the prevailing south-westerly winds by the sandspit, extensive marshes have formed in its lee or northern side. The Inner Bay (approximately 28,000 ha) encompasses the open water from the Big Creek marshes in the west to an imaginary line drawn from Turkey Point to Pottahawk Point in the east. The northern and western shores are fringed by shallow marshes, with the extensive marshes of Turkey Point in the northeast corner and those of Long Point to the south and west. The moderating effect of Lake Erie, combined with the southern geographic location of Long Point, allows a number of plants and animals to survive here at the northern fringe of their North American range.

Birds

The Long Point area is most renowned for the concentrations of waterfowl that make use of the area during spring and fall migration. Single day counts of 70,000 to over 100,000 waterfowl are made regularly. At least eight species of waterfowl regularly occur in globally significant numbers (i.e., greater than 1% of the world population): Tundra Swan, American Black Duck, Canvasback, Redhead, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Red-breasted Merganser, and Ruddy Duck. It should be recognized that these data are based on single-day-counts; over the course of the migration season it is likely that the number of individuals and associated percentages for each of these species would be even higher. Over the recent past there have been occasions when even higher numbers of waterfowl have been recorded: 10 to 15% of the Canvasback population; up to 10% of the Redhead population; and up to 35% to 45% of the Tundra Swan (eastern) population. Other waterbirds that occur in large numbers include Whimbrel (often in the hundreds), Bonaparte's Gull (regular one-day counts in excess of 5,000), and Common Terns (regular one-day counts in excess of 1,000)

In addition to waterfowl, the Long Point area also supports an exceptional number and diversity of resident and migrant landbirds. A total of 398 bird species have been recorded at Long Point to date. This represents approximately 81% of the species that have been recorded thus far in Ontario. About 120 species have nested in the area and on average, about 260 species of birds are recorded each year.

The Long Point Bird Observatory operates three migration monitoring stations on the spit. As of the end of 2014, they had banded 951,346 birds of 273 different species. Using the estimated daily totals of migrant birds in each of the three census areas it has been estimated that the average number of migrants using the area is 2.4 million individuals in the spring and 7 million in the fall.

Several nationally threatened bird species nest in the Long Point area including nationally significant numbers of King Rail (endangered), Least Bittern (threatened), and Prothonotary Warbler (endangered). Red-headed Woodpecker (threatened) are also present, but not in nationally significant numbers. Local populations of all of these species appear to have declined in recent years and some may be extirpated or only occasional breeders. Long Point formerly supported a significant breeding population of Piping Plovers (globally vulnerable; nationally endangered) but the last recorded evidence of attempted breeding was in 1981. This species is now very rarely seen during migration. However, suitable breeding habitat still remains.

Conservation Issues

In August 1996, the Long Point area was announced as the first globally significant Important Bird Area in Canada. This international recognition is one of many: in 1982 it was designated as a Ramsar site following the convention on Wetlands of International Importance; in 1986 it was recognized as a World Biosphere site by UNESCO within the Man and Biosphere Program; and in 1995 it was recognized as an International Monarch Butterfly Reserve.

The presence of the significant natural features at Long Point is largely due to the stewardship of the Long Point Company. They have owned and managed a large portion of the Point for duck hunting since 1866. More recently, the Canadian Wildlife Service has become active in the conservation of the area through the establishment of National Wildlife Areas in 1973 and 1979. Other major tenants who manage their land for conservation include the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Long Point Region Conservation Authority, Ducks Unlimited, and at least five different private waterfowl clubs.

Although much of the area is protected through ownership by conservation interests, there are direct threats to non-protected wetlands due to proposals to convert the marsh for agricultural or recreational purposes. In addition to direct loss of habitat through development, disturbance to resting flocks of waterfowl by motor boats is also a serious concern. To counter this threat public awareness programs have been undertaken. Other threats include the potential for off-site developments that may interfere with the shoreline transport of sand that forms Long Point or the artificial manipulation of Great Lakes water levels.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Redhead
Number Year Season
5,000 - 12,0002017Winter
5,0002016Winter
7,500 - 76,0302016Fall
5,000 - 25,8252015Winter
36,700 - 49,0002015Fall
5,000 - 26,0812014Winter
25,115 - 46,2002014Fall
7,0002014Spring
33,500 - 35,0002013Fall
5,000 - 12,0002013Spring
7,547 - 12,0002012Winter
20,060 - 44,2302012Fall
9,5002012Spring
6,0042011Winter
20,0002011Spring
10,0002009Fall
10,4002008Spring
7,0132001Winter
6,4142000Winter
16,2281999Winter
9,573 - 13,5781998Fall
13,464 - 18,9311998Spring
21,8971998Winter
10,0891992Fall
Red-breasted Merganser
Number Year Season
4,780 - 20,0932016Fall
2,000 - 5,5412015Fall
1,926 - 6,9102014Fall
2,5002014Spring
15,000 - 30,0002013Fall
1,9902013Spring
2,8092012Winter
2,648 - 10,3502012Fall
2,1832011Winter
2,725 - 11,9162011Fall
2,580 - 9,0002010Fall
3,002 - 3,0302009Fall
2,3262009Spring
2,310 - 3,7602008Fall
2,800 - 11,1212007Fall
3,280 - 7,2462007Spring
5,5912006Winter
1,880 - 4,7312006Fall
2,0002006Spring
2,0042005Winter
3,6441998Fall
2,9701998Winter
3,5001996Fall
2,500 - 4,0001990Fall
Canvasback
Number Year Season
4,000 - 8,0002017Winter
5,000 - 9,0002016Fall
4,000 - 5,1822015Winter
5,0002015Fall
4,5002015Spring
5,0002014Spring
5,0002013Fall
5,0002012Fall
5,000 - 7,5002012Spring
7,000 - 25,0002012Winter
4,0002011Spring
4,4802007Winter
7,0232006Winter
4,0002006Spring
5,000 - 18,0001999Fall
4,457 - 51,7661998Winter
5,617 - 33,3091998Fall
5,529 - 29,8361998Spring
14,000 - 35,0001997Fall
12,000 - 25,0001996Fall
8,000 - 15,0001995Fall
8,000 - 25,0001994Fall
4,7011993Winter
9,000 - 41,8651993Fall
4,5001992Winter
6,0001990Fall
Tundra Swan
Number Year Season
2,100 - 8,5002015Spring
1,7462014Winter
2,500 - 8,0002014Spring
1,5002013Winter
1,500 - 7,5002013Spring
1,480 - 2,2002012Winter
2,0002011Fall
2,000 - 11,5002011Spring
2,0002010Winter
2,0002010Fall
2,1562010Spring
2,2352009Winter
1,5002009Spring
4,500 - 5,5002008Spring
2,5002006Winter
1,500 - 3,0002006Spring
10,0002005Spring
2,1392004Winter
2,2552003Winter
2,000 - 3,9052003Spring
3,9702001Winter
6,1081999Winter
3,0001999Spring
3,115 - 9,2071998Winter
9,159 - 10,5441998Fall
2,4851997Winter
2,2841996Winter
3,2151994Winter
11,2601993Fall
2,1181992Winter
4,000 - 8,0001992Spring
1,5631991Winter
1,500 - 2,8001991Fall
2,0001991Spring
2,0091990Winter
Bonaparte's Gull
Number Year Season
8,000 - 9,0202016Fall
3,005 - 4,2002015Fall
6,000 - 6,0262014Fall
3,0002014Spring
5,016 - 11,2002013Fall
3,680 - 8,7002012Fall
4,205 - 8,0052011Fall
3,500 - 3,7002011Spring
5,250 - 10,6002010Fall
3,3222010Spring
3,200 - 4,1912009Fall
3,008 - 5,2672009Spring
3,100 - 4,9002008Fall
3,040 - 13,0342007Fall
4,000 - 5,6002006Fall
3,454 - 8,8102005Fall
3,000 - 7,5002004Fall
6,0002002Fall
3,200 - 3,5001999Fall
3,8001999Spring
8,0001998Fall
3,000 - 3,5001997Fall
3,0021997Spring
5,0001996Fall
3,000 - 20,0001995Spring
3,000 - 15,0001994Fall
3,1001994Spring
3,000 - 6,0001993Fall
3,000 - 3,2001993Spring
4,300 - 4,5001992Fall
8,000 - 20,0001992Spring
4,000 - 17,0001991Fall
4,500 - 6,0001991Spring
3,000 - 10,0001990Fall
Greater Scaup
Number Year Season
5,0002016Winter
5,000 - 20,0002016Fall
5,0002015Spring
5,200 - 13,0532014Winter
10,000 - 19,0002014Fall
6,0002013Fall
10,000 - 18,0002012Winter
8,200 - 25,0002012Fall
5,0002012Spring
5,722 - 6,0002011Winter
5,0152006Winter
9,1162004Winter
5,000 - 25,1002000Fall
15,1851999Winter
8,0001999Fall
8,000 - 13,9511998Winter
23,6861998Spring
7,9821997Winter
8,7821991Winter
Double-crested Cormorant
Number Year Season
13,0002014Fall
12,504 - 17,0002013Fall
18,000 - 25,0002012Fall
12,600 - 15,0002007Fall
15,000 - 25,0002005Fall
15,000 - 31,0002004Fall
70,0002003Fall
Ring-billed Gull
Number Year Season
23,0002014Spring
65,0001992Summer
16,000 - 40,0001992Spring
Lesser Scaup
Number Year Season
30,0002012Fall
32,500 - 70,0001999Fall
30,0001998Fall
16,000 - 21,0001997Fall
20,000 - 25,0001993Fall
40,0001992Fall
American Black Duck
Number Year Season
6,095 - 6,8061998Winter
8,570 - 12,7711998Fall
7,6501995Fall
Cooper's Hawk
Number Year Season
8,539 - 11,1212007Fall
7,2462007Spring
4,7312006Fall
Ruddy Duck
Number Year Season
4,0742001Winter
7,2041999Winter
3,813 - 4,4311998Fall
3,9701997Fall
Common Grackle
Number Year Season
900,001 - 904,0392015Fall
172,000 - 600,0002013Fall
20,000 - 30,0212013Spring
334,060 - 973,6502012Fall
53,001 - 200,0032011Fall
450,000 - 700,1612010Fall
350,000 - 500,2012009Fall
25,037 - 44,1442008Fall
150,000 - 500,5042007Fall
250,005 - 425,0032006Fall
220,000 - 900,0002005Fall
99,000 - 420,0412004Fall
100,440 - 300,0002003Fall
100,000 - 150,0002002Fall
200,000 - 400,0002001Fall
20,000 - 81,7002000Fall
20,000 - 28,0002000Spring
81,000 - 210,0001999Fall
17,0001998Fall
21,000 - 100,0001997Fall
31,0001996Fall
16,000 - 220,0001995Fall
22,000 - 50,0001993Fall
40,000 - 40,2001991Fall
25,0001990Fall
Rusty Blackbird
Number Year Season
30 - 4,1422016Fall
50 - 3002015Fall
40 - 502015Spring
123 - 2002014Fall
75 - 5002014Spring
34 - 432013Winter
247 - 5072013Fall
592013Spring
48 - 3532012Fall
27 - 1002012Spring
24 - 2002011Winter
35 - 2952011Fall
41 - 1242011Spring
482010Winter
30 - 632010Fall
1,100 - 1,7752010Spring
25 - 1502009Fall
25 - 2502009Spring
42 - 582008Fall
24 - 1422008Spring
74 - 1002007Winter
31 - 492007Fall
45 - 1562007Spring
40 - 1502006Fall
24 - 352006Spring
1992005Winter
47 - 7272005Fall
23 - 1742005Spring
842004Winter
100 - 2532004Fall
642003Winter
29 - 772003Fall
452003Spring
572002Winter
482001Winter
462001Fall
352000Winter
23 - 802000Fall
50 - 4002000Spring
70 - 1501999Fall
25 - 301999Spring
350 - 6801998Fall
911997Winter
200 - 3001997Fall
120 - 2001996Fall
30 - 1301996Spring
220 - 7501995Fall
30 - 401995Spring
761994Winter
120 - 5001994Fall
30 - 2501994Spring
80 - 2,0001993Fall
50 - 901993Spring
271992Winter
30 - 1351992Fall
29 - 5001992Spring
160 - 3001991Fall
301991Spring
671990Winter
500 - 3,0001990Fall
60 - 3001990Spring
Whooping Crane
Number Year Season
12007Spring
Little Gull
Number Year Season
2 - 582017Winter
9 - 162016Fall
2 - 412016Spring
42015Winter
6 - 122015Fall
3 - 52015Summer
4 - 102015Spring
4 - 182014Fall
20 - 222014Spring
52013Winter
20 - 1062013Fall
25 - 922013Spring
2 - 102012Winter
6 - 152012Fall
22012Summer
7 - 1452012Spring
2 - 62011Winter
3 - 242011Fall
22011Spring
22010Winter
15 - 472010Fall
2 - 82010Spring
4 - 172009Fall
2 - 32009Spring
2 - 62008Fall
62007Winter
2 - 72007Fall
22007Spring
3 - 212006Winter
4 - 72006Fall
52006Summer
2 - 62006Spring
2 - 212005Fall
2 - 32005Spring
2 - 102004Fall
22004Spring
2 - 32003Fall
2 - 32003Spring
2 - 122002Fall
3 - 232002Summer
3 - 222002Spring
72001Winter
2 - 42001Fall
2 - 32001Spring
42000Winter
2 - 42000Fall
22000Spring
6 - 71999Fall
51999Summer
2 - 451999Spring
211998Winter
2 - 61998Fall
5 - 61998Summer
2 - 41998Spring
21997Winter
20 - 501997Fall
21997Spring
3 - 1201996Fall
2 - 101996Spring
2 - 31995Fall
2 - 101995Spring
2 - 211994Winter
3 - 81994Fall
2 - 51994Spring
7 - 301993Winter
4 - 301993Fall
2 - 101993Spring
21992Winter
3 - 101992Fall
3 - 251992Spring
1171991Winter
4 - 151991Fall
21991Summer
5 - 61991Spring
2 - 51990Winter
2 - 291990Fall
21990Spring
Common Tern
Number Year Season
7,000 - 10,5012016Fall
10,074 - 13,1102013Fall
6,054 - 6,7852009Fall
9,4002006Fall
6,500 - 28,1452005Fall
1,0001997Spring
2,0001994Fall
10,0001991Fall
6,0001990Fall
Herring Gull
Number Year Season
4,0001992Fall
4,000 - 8,0001992Spring
3,500 - 4,0001991Fall
Whimbrel
Number Year Season
8652014Spring
6001995Spring
Chimney Swift
Number Year Season
232015Summer
48 - 1602013Spring
492012Fall
252012Spring
322011Spring
31 - 332010Fall
35 - 722010Spring
252009Spring
302008Spring
252007Spring
23 - 552006Spring
29 - 812005Fall
28 - 732005Spring
302004Fall
25 - 3422004Spring
28 - 402003Spring
25 - 292002Spring
302001Fall
382000Spring
351999Fall
50 - 901999Spring
40 - 851998Spring
301997Summer
60 - 1801997Spring
301996Spring
251995Fall
50 - 1501995Spring
301994Summer
45 - 1501994Spring
25 - 501993Fall
60 - 4501993Spring
401992Summer
25 - 451992Spring
25 - 601991Fall
30 - 501991Spring
30 - 601990Fall
25 - 1001990Spring
Red-headed Woodpecker
Number Year Season
13 - 152013Spring
12 - 172007Spring
112006Spring
182005Spring
232002Fall
121999Spring
14 - 301998Fall
201995Spring
181993Spring
121992Spring
Acadian Flycatcher
Number Year Season
12016Fall
12016Summer
1 - 22016Spring
12015Fall
12015Spring
12014Summer
12014Spring
12013Fall
12013Summer
1 - 22013Spring
12012Summer
1 - 22012Spring
12011Summer
1 - 22011Spring
12010Summer
12010Spring
12009Spring
12008Summer
12007Summer
1 - 32007Spring
12006Fall
12006Spring
12005Fall
12005Summer
12005Spring
22004Summer
12004Spring
12001Fall
12001Spring
12000Summer
12000Spring
11999Summer
11999Spring
11997Fall
11997Summer
11996Summer
11995Spring
11994Spring
11993Fall
11992Fall
1 - 101992Summer
11991Fall
11991Spring
11990Fall
11990Summer
King Rail
Number Year Season
12014Summer
12012Fall
1 - 22005Spring
12001Fall
12001Summer
12000Summer
11999Spring
11998Summer
11998Spring
11997Fall
1 - 41995Summer
11995Spring
11991Summer
11991Spring
Yellow-breasted Chat
Number Year Season
12016Spring
12015Fall
12015Spring
12014Fall
12014Spring
1 - 22013Fall
12013Summer
12013Spring
12012Spring
12011Spring
12010Fall
12010Spring
12009Fall
12009Spring
12008Fall
12008Summer
12008Spring
12007Spring
12006Fall
12006Spring
12005Fall
12005Summer
12005Spring
12004Summer
12004Spring
22003Fall
12003Spring
12002Fall
12002Summer
1 - 22002Spring
12001Fall
12001Spring
12000Fall
1 - 22000Spring
1 - 21999Fall
21999Summer
1 - 21999Spring
11998Fall
11998Spring
11997Fall
11997Summer
11997Spring
11996Fall
11996Summer
21996Spring
11995Fall
2 - 31995Spring
11994Fall
11994Summer
1 - 21994Spring
11993Fall
11993Spring
11992Summer
1 - 21992Spring
11991Fall
1 - 21991Spring
11990Fall
1 - 21990Spring
Peregrine Falcon
Number Year Season
10 - 132014Fall
102013Fall
18 - 312011Fall
102009Fall
102004Fall
10 - 112003Fall
91995Fall
101993Fall
Prothonotary Warbler
Number Year Season
12016Fall
1 - 22016Spring
1 - 22015Fall
12014Fall
1 - 22014Spring
12013Fall
12013Summer
12013Spring
12012Spring
12011Spring
12010Summer
12010Spring
12009Spring
12008Fall
12008Summer
12008Spring
12007Fall
12007Spring
12006Fall
12006Summer
12006Spring
12005Spring
12004Summer
12004Spring
12003Summer
1 - 22002Summer
12002Spring
11999Summer
11999Spring
11998Spring
11997Summer
1 - 21995Spring
11994Spring
11993Fall
11993Spring
11992Spring
1 - 21991Fall
11991Summer
11991Spring
1 - 21990Fall
11990Spring
??Other
Least Bittern
Number Year Season
221995Summer
Northern Bobwhite
Number Year Season
22002Summer
22000Winter
Barn Owl
Number Year Season
12007Fall
Henslow's Sparrow
Number Year Season
12011Spring
12004Fall
11993Spring
Kirtland's Warbler
Number Year Season
12014Spring
12011Spring
12010Spring
12003Spring
11995Fall
Loggerhead Shrike
Number Year Season
12013Spring
12011Fall
12008Fall
12004Fall
11992Spring
Waterbirds
Number Year Season
191,002 - 9,624,5451998Fall
97,3461998Winter
3,322,9511998Spring
1,606,0001996Spring
3,650,0001995Fall
1,210,0001995Spring
5,410,0001994Fall
766,0001994Spring
6,380,0001993Fall
813,0001993Spring
2,240,0001992Fall
1,044,0001992Spring
American Wigeon
Number Year Season
14,6551993Winter
21,0001991Fall
Common Merganser
Number Year Season
14,0002012Winter
4,9501995Spring