North Point (ON139)
Altitude 0 - 5m
This historical IBA was discontinued in 2017 and incorporated into a new, larger site called Pei lay sheesh kow. The text and data describing this historical IBA are retained here for reference.
North Point is a point of land along the southwest coast of James Bay, about 28 km northeast of Moosonee. The site includes shoreline areas about 5 km to the north and south of the point, as well as mudflats and shoals, which extend 2 to 3 km into the bay. Extensive eelgrass beds are also found off the coast. Gravel ridges rise about 2 m above the mudflats and run along the shore for about 800meters. The ridges are covered with long grasses and driftwood, and are surrounded by salt marshes. Extensive cattail and grass/sedge marshes are located behind the ridges. The Moose River Estuary IBA (ON138) lies immediately to the south of this IBA.
James Bay is one of North Americas most important stopover areas for waterfowl and shorebirds. North Point is one of a series of sites along the coastline where significant numbers of birds concentrate. The eelgrass beds off the point are a major attractant for Brant, which rely on eelgrass as a primary food item. In 1982 13,000 Brant were observed on a one-day count during spring migration, while the fall season average was 23,500 birds. These numbers represent 4% and 7% respectively of the North American population (or about 10% and 19% of the Atlantic population). It is likely that at least 50% of the Atlantic Brant population uses the eelgrass beds in this area each year.
The mudflats and shoals surrounding the point provide valuable resources of invertebrates, which are necessary for shorebirds to fuel their long migratory flights. Shorebird species such as Dunlin, Red Knot, Semipalmated Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper and Hudsonian Godwit feed here in significant numbers. North Point is a key staging area for Hudsonian Godwit. About 3% of the global population (1,500 birds) staged here during 1975b surveys before flying possibly directly to South America. This site is also a key area for Red Knots, as the 2,500 birds counted here represented about 2% of the 1975 rufa supspecies population. About 10,000 Dunlin were observed at the site in 1982, representing perhaps 10% of the central Canadian breeding population. During surveys in 2011, globally significant numbers of Pectoral (925), Semipalmated (23,000) and White-rumped Sandpipers (12,500) were all recorded.
In the past, large numbers of Lesser Snow Geese passed through the site on their way to and from breeding grounds in northern Ontario and in the Arctic. A 1982 survey recorded 2,500 geese at the point on a single day. This equaled 1.5% of the Mid Continent population of Snow Geese at that time.
One-day counts have recorded large numbers of several other species, including Northern Pintail (2,500), and Long-tailed Duck (1,000). Thousands of songbirds such as larks, longspurs, pipits, redpolls, and sparrows also stream through the point in fall.
North Point is a proposed Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) site, an area of international importance for shorebirds. The Canadian Wildlife Service has conducted banding and molt studies at this site. First Nations people also use the area for subsistence hunting.
Potential or Ongoing Threats