Skidegate Inlet (BC145)
Queen Charlotte City, Colombie-Britannique
Description du site
Skidegate Inlet is a large embayment between the two main islands (Graham and Moresby Islands) of the Haida Gwaii archipelago in British Columbia. The IBA site extends west from Leonide Point on Graham Island, and eastward on the north coast to a point halfway between the village of Skidegate and Dead Tree Point. On the southern side of the inlet, the site extends east and southward along the coast near Moresby Island to a point between Cape Chroustcheff and Copper Bay. It includes all the marine waters in this region, in an arc to about 5 km offshore. The smaller islands are rocky, whereas the larger islands contain small conifer forests. The western portion of the site is characterized by comparatively sheltered channels and bays around two large islands at the centre of the inlet. Here, a long sand spit extends out from Spit Point across the mouth of Skidegate Inlet. A broad shallow tidal shelf extends eastwards from here, with adjacent beaches and intertidal flats consisting of a mixture of mud sand and stones. Gray Whales are often seen feeding in offshore waters.
Globally important numbers of Black Brant (10-15,000) occur during spring migration, stopping to feed on the eel grass beds. Up to 2,000 birds were seen on a single day during surveys in 1991. Diving ducks, loons and grebes concentrate in large numbers around schools of spawning Pacific Herring. The Inlet is an important feeding area for Red-necked and Western Grebes, Surf, White-winged and Black Scoters, Greater Scaup, and Harlequin Ducks.
A globally important population of Pigeon Guillemots and a nationally important population of Black Oystercatchers occur during the breeding season. In 1990, researchers estimated that there were approximately 1,000 nesting pairs of guillemots in the area, and 44 pairs of Black Oystercathers were found. The largest numbers of guillemots were on Lillihorn, Jewell, and Torrens islands. Glaucous-winged Gulls also nest throughout the 26 islets and islands.
The eastern end of the inlet around Sandspit is important for migrating shorebirds during spring and fall. A high diversity of species can be found at Big Spit, Kilkun Bay and Little Spit Point. Thirty-seven species were recorded during surveys in 1991 and 1992, the four most numerous being Western Sandpiper, Dunlin, Black Turnstone, and Sanderling. Sandspit is a significant stopover for Surfbirds, with 2,400 recorded in spring. Regular fall migrants include Pacific and American Golden Plovers, Upland Sandpiper and Black-bellied Plover. In spring, regular migrants include Red Knot, dowitchers and Marbled Godwit. The relative importance of the IBA to some of the species listed above is under review.
Enjeux de conservation
Predation by raccoons, an introduced species, is a threat to nesting colonial waterbirds in the region. Human disturbance, development, and oils spills also have the potential to affect bird species and their habitat.
Menaces Potencielles ou Existantes
Status de Protection