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Location Canada, New Brunswick
Central coordinates 66o 7.17' West  45o 13.26' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 200 ha
Altitude 0 - 5m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description The Saints Rest Marsh and Beach Important Bird Area is located on the southern shore of New Brunswick in the Bay of Fundy, about 5 km southwest of the city of Saint John. The area includes a gravel spit that connects the Taylor Peninsula and Irving Nature Park with the mainland, and a partly tidal marsh associated with Manawagonish Creek. Industrial areas occupy most upland areas north of the marsh. This site is close to sea level, but contains some low (less than 5m), abrupt ridges. The climate is typical of the Maritimes with frequent fog, mild winters and cool summers. Tides range from seven to nine meters in this area.

Key Biodiversity Saints Rest Marsh and Beach is a major fall stopover site for small sandpipers (i.e. peeps), and some other shorebird species during fall migration. Various sources have recorded the presence of over 20,000 shorebirds at this location. Since the late 1970s, participants in the Maritimes Shorebird Survey (MSS) have periodically surveyed the site, but overall, complete coverage has been poor and the site has not been surveyed in the 1990s. MSS protocol requires volunteers to count shorebirds every second weekend during the period of southward migration from late July to late October. So, seasonal totals from the MSS represent the total number of birds seen on as many as seven one-day counts.

Globally significant numbers of Semipalmated Sandpipers and Semipalmated Plovers visit the site during fall migration. The three-year average MSS fall count (1976, 1985, 1986) of Semipalmated Sandpipers was 50,666 birds, which is more than 1% of the North American population. This average includes an unusually high count of 100,000 birds in 1986 (the number may be an over-estimate). The two-year average (1976, 1985) MSS count of Semipalmated Plovers was 1,500 birds, which is 3% of this species global population.

Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpipers also frequent the site during fall migration. An MSS average of 475 Lesser Yellowlegs (1985, 1986) and 400 Least Sandpipers (1976,1985) have been recorded, whereas Pectoral Sandpipers are usually found in smaller numbers. Waterfowl are also attracted to the marsh, and this site is well known by local birders to contain unusual species.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus passage  1986  10,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla passage  1986  100,000 individuals  A4i  Near Threatened 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  1976-1986  50,000-99,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Estuarine waters; Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats; Salt/brackish marshes  80%
Sea Sea inlets  20%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation minor
urban/industrial/transport major

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Saint's Rest Marsh and Beach. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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