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Quidi Vidi Lake (NF022)

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Quidi Vidi Lake (NF022)

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Latitude 47.581°N
Longitude 52.690°W
Altitude 0 - 10m
Area 7.00km²

Site Description

Quidi Vidi Lake lies within the city limits of St. John's, Newfoundlands capital city. Oriented northeast to southwest, the lake is cigar-shaped, with maximum dimensions of 1,600 by 350 m. The lake is fed from the north by the Virginia River and from the west by Rennies River. The eastern end of the lake empties into the ocean at the Quidi Vidi Gut. The lake shoreline is comprised of gravel and there are no islands, significant points, or emergent vegetation within the lake. From May to December, the lake is used for recreational boating.

Birds

Large numbers of gulls use Quidi Vidi Lake as a day time resting site in the late fall, winter and early spring when there is ice on the lake. At least five species occur in significant numbers (i.e., greater than 1% of their estimated North American populations). These species include: Herring Gull (10,000 as much as 2.8% of the estimated North American population); Great Black-backed Gulls (8,000 as much as 6% of the estimated North American population); Iceland Gull (2,000 as much as 6.6% of the estimated North American population); Glaucous Gull (750 about 1% of the estimated North American population); and Common Black-headed Gull (75 the largest wintering concentration in North America). All of these estimated are based on one-day high counts averaged over several seasons; it is likely that the total number of birds using the site is much larger.

The gulls do not feed at Quidi Vidi Lake except for the few dozen, mostly Herring Gulls, that steal bread from handouts to the ducks. The Herring, Great Black-backed and Glaucous Gulls use the dump as the main food source. Iceland Gulls feed at sewer outflows in St. Johns harbour and one sewer outlet in Quidi Vidi Gut. Iceland Gulls also feed along the coast on more natural food sources. Fifteen species of gulls have been seen at Quidi Vidi Lake with up to ten species present at one time. This site has a worldwide reputation for gull watching. The abundance, diversity and ease of observing gulls at Quidi Vidi Lake has attracted gull watchers from the Netherlands, Ireland, the United States, and the rest of Canada. Other birds commonly recorded at this site include: American Black Ducks (300), Mallards (25), Northern Pintails (50), Ring-billed Gulls, Mew Gulls, and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Conservation Issues

The waterfowl using Quidi Vidi Lake survive solely on food handouts from people. Numbers increased dramatically in the St. Johns area over the last 10 years. The number of Northern Pintail now wintering in St. Johns (200-300), is exceptionally high for all areas north of Massachusetts.

Waste oil and other toxins sometimes end up in the St. Johns drainage system. Waste oil contamination in winter could affect large numbers of ducks and gulls confined to small areas of open water at the mouth of Rennies and Virginia River.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Great Black-backed Gull
Number Year Season
1,5002017Winter
2,0002014Winter
2,0002013Winter
2,0002013Fall
1,400 - 2,0002011Winter
1,4002010Winter
2,0002008Winter
3,3651996Winter
5,970 - 8,0001995Winter
1,7291993Winter
Iceland Gull (Iceland)
Number Year Season
1,000 - 1,5002016Winter
1,000 - 1,3002015Winter
1,000 - 2,5002014Winter
1,000 - 1,5002013Winter
1,0002012Winter
800 - 4,0002011Winter
1,3502010Winter
1,000 - 1,5002008Winter
9881996Winter
2,000 - 2,0871995Winter
1,9721993Winter
Black-headed Gull
Number Year Season
4 - 102017Spring
42016Winter
25 - 382015Spring
40 - 702015Winter
15 - 652014Winter
40 - 452014Fall
40 - 452014Spring
20 - 902013Winter
10 - 902013Fall
8 - 192013Spring
12 - 752012Winter
35 - 1052012Fall
202012Spring
10 - 702011Winter
42011Summer
10 - 252011Spring
50 - 602010Winter
10 - 572008Winter
25 - 652006Spring
282006Winter
10 - 152005Winter
20 - 402005Fall
12 - 1002004Winter
42004Spring
252003Winter
852003Fall
30 - 451997Winter
901996Winter
65 - 751995Winter
5 - 101993Fall
4 - 91993Winter
5 - 361992Winter
4 - 231992Fall
15 - 441991Winter
14 - 531991Fall
151991Spring
35 - 791990Winter
25 - 731990Fall
4 - 281990Spring
Dovekie
Number Year Season
82016Winter
452003Winter
Herring Gull
Number Year Season
5,0002017Spring
3,0002017Winter
3,000 - 5,0002015Winter
5,000 - 8,0002014Fall
3,5002014Winter
3,000 - 4,0002013Winter
3,000 - 8,0002013Fall
3,500 - 3,7502011Winter
3,5002010Winter
5,9981996Winter
4,693 - 10,0001995Winter
5,4081993Winter
3,0751992Winter
Manx Shearwater
Number Year Season
42000Fall
Ivory Gull
Number Year Season
2 - 52002Winter
4 - 91998Winter
Red Crossbill
Number Year Season
222016Spring
8 - 102016Winter
112015Winter
101996Spring