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Location Canada, New Brunswick
Central coordinates 64o 31.17' West  45o 49.26' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 5,200 ha
Altitude 0 - 5m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Bird Studies Canada/Nature Canada

Site description Dorchester Cape is a rocky cape that extends into the bay, and Grand Anse is an area of sand and gravel beaches situated along the eastern coast of Shepody Bay, in eastern New Brunswick. It is adjoined by a large ledge of intertidal mud flats, known as Bucks Flats. Grand Anse is within the town of Johnsons Mills. One of the characteristic features of the shorelines of the Bay of Fundy, such as this, are the macro-tides ranging from 10 15 m, the highest in the world. Low tide exposes vast mud flats at this site, which extend at least 2 km seaward, providing a huge open area for shorebirds to forage for abundant invertebrates. The land adjacent to the flats is poor and infertile and thus does not support agriculture.

Key Biodiversity The Dorchester Cape and Grand Anse areas are vitally important for roosting and feeding migrant shorebirds. The Semipalmated Sandpiper is by far the most abundant shorebird in the Bay of Fundy during fall migration, with up to 200,000 birds recorded at the roost site during peak migration. This figure accounts for about 5.6% of the world population and is a recent recalculation of estimates made between 1975 to 1983. More recent estimates (1995) show that a similar number of birds continue to use the area today. About 50 and 95% of the worlds population of Semipalmated Sandpipers use this and other IBA sites in the Bay of Fundy at peak of migration in early August.

Dorchester Cape is also extremely important for migrating Dunlin. An estimated 2,027 Dunlin use this part of Shepody Bay, representing almost 1% of the central Canadian breeding population. Significant numbers of Semipalmated Plovers (678) have also been observed, which is more than 1% of their global population. Black-bellied Plovers are one of the only shorebirds that are found at the Bay of Fundy in equally large concentrations during both spring and fall migration, with a maximum count of 807 in the fall of 1994.

Numerous other shorebird species are found at Dorchester Cape, including Short-billed Dowitchers, Least Sandpipers, Red Knots, and White-rumped Sandpipers (in some of the highest numbers in the region, 227 birds). Shorebird flocks move back and forth between Dorchester Cape and Marys Point (Shepody Bay West) to varying degrees depending on the tidal cycle, and thus the highest counts at both sites most likely involve some duplication.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla passage  1995  400,000 individuals  A4i  Near Threatened 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  1995  100,000-499,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Shepody Bay Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 12,200 protected area contains site 5,200  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research major
forestry minor
tourism/recreation minor

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Dorchester Cape and Grand Anse. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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