JOHNSON’S MILLS, N.B. – Nearly one third of the world’s population of semipalmated sandpipers are returning to the Bay of Fundy over the next few weeks, and this natural wonder of migration will be celebrated July 27, 28 and 29 at the annual Dorchester Sandpiper Festival.
The Village of Dorchester will provide the food, music and family-friendly entertainment, while in nearby Johnson’s Mills, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) will host visitors at its Shorebird Reserve and Interpretive Centre. NCC’s interpretive centre offers a beachfront viewing deck overlooking the Bay of Fundy, in one of the best locations in southern New Brunswick for shorebird watching.
As part of the festival’s Saturday activities, a free shuttle service will take festival-goers from Dorchester’s Richard Park to Johnson’s Mills. At the interpretive centre, NCC will provide viewing scopes on the deck, as well as knowledgeable interpreters to answer questions about the sandpipers and other shorebirds. Admission to NCC’s Shorebird Interpretive Centre is by donation. NCC staff will also perform in a skit at the festival called “Shorebirds Talk” immediately following the opening ceremonies in Dorchester on Saturday.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Johnson’s Mills Shorebird Interpretive Centre and surrounding conservation area is a renowned haven for many species of shorebirds, in particular the semipalmated sandpiper.
At peak, more than 150,000 of semipalmated sandpipers rest and feed here midway through their marathon migration from the Arctic to South America. Many species of shorebirds are facing declining populations, and their long-term survival depends on the conservation of key habitats like those at Johnson’s Mills.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada has also helped protect other habitats for shorebirds on the Bay of Fundy at Grand Manan, the Musquash Estuary near Saint John, and on Brier Island, in western Nova Scotia.