The Bay of Fundy is a 270 km. (170 mile) long ocean bay that stretches between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Each day 160 billion tonnes of seawater flows in and out of this bay during one tide cycle. (That's more than the combined flow of all the world's freshwater rivers!) The bay area has many aspects worth exploring: its beaches, sea caves, cliffs and salt marshes, the Tidal Bore, the Fundy Trail, beautiful Fundy National Park, Joggins Fossil Cliffs, whale watching cruises, sea kayaking, and bird watching to name a few.
|Red cliffs along the Shepody Bay area of the upper Bay of Fundy|
Massive flocks of shorebirds, travelling from their nesting grounds in the Canadian Arctic to South America, stop at the Bay of Fundy to feed and fuel up before continuing their migration flight south.
|Sandpipers are small, as you can see here, in comparison to the seagull.|
There are well over 100 sandpipers in this photo.
Yesterday I visited Johnson's Mills, just outside Dorchester N.B. to view this spectacle. Thousands of semipalmated sandpipers are currently feeding on the mud flats in the bay area, in fact about 75% of the world's population of semipalmated sandpipers stops here each year. At peak season there can be flocks of up to 200,000!
At low tide they are out on the mud flats feeding on the tiny mud shrimp, corophium volutator, which is found only in the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of Maine.
As the tide rises, the birds move closer to shore and at high tide, they roost/rest in large groups on the pebble beach, close enough for excellent viewing. Yesterday it was estimated we were looking at 80,000 birds. Of course they are too numerous to actually count accurately; the Interpretors "count" by looking at the shore area covered and estimating 100 birds per square metre. Yes, they are really "packed in."
Among the semipalmated sandpipers (black legs) one can often see several other species as well- the least sandpiper (distinguished by its yellow-green legs), the black-bellied plover and the semipalmated plover. You can see several plovers in the photo above - they have a black band on their upper breast and are closest to the camera, just above my Stitch Lines watermark.
Only when they lift off in flight can you appreciate the vast numbers.
I was wishing I had the massive lenses that others were using, or video capability, but had to be satisfied with my one telephoto. I hope you will enjoy these still images, but be sure you click the following links to watch several videos of the birds in flight - their aerial dance is so incredibly beautiful; click here and here. They will give you a good idea of what we actually witnessed, as my still photos just don't do it justice. Both were filmed at Dorchester/Johnson's Mills, and the second one is set to music. Almost as good as being there! Nature is so incredibly amazing!
I took well over 150 photos and am still editing. I'll probably add a few more tomorrow, so I hope you'll come back for another visit.
I am linking with Judith at Mosaic Monday and with Mersad at Through my Lens.
“I think the most important quality in a birdwatcher is a willingness to stand quietly and see what comes. Our everyday lives obscure a truth about existence - that at the heart of everything there lies a stillness and a light.” ~ Lynn Thomson, Birding with Yeats: A Memoir