Îlot C

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
Îlot C is an artificial sand islet that was formed between 1980 and 1982 from sand deposits dredged out of the channel between Dune du Sud and Grande Entrée. Coastal vegetation, dominated by Short-liguled Ammophila (Ammophila breviligulata) has covered a large portion of the islet and contributes to the stabilization of the sand. Red Fescue and other grass and rush species are also present. The islet, however, remains vulnerable to erosion.

Key biodiversity
Îlot C became a significant nesting area for large numbers of Common Terns, some Arctic Terns, as well as threatened species such as Piping Plovers and Roseate Terns. Common Terns were the most abundant species, and observers suggest that they comprised at least 95% of the tern population at this site. Over a four-year period from 1987 to 1990, an average of about 1,000 Common Terns was recorded nesting at this site (just over 1% of the estimated North American population). In 1993, the year of the last recent count, surveyors recorded 1445 Common Tern nests.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Roseate Terns (identified as nationally endangered) were also consistently recorded at this site. Nesting pairs may have been present in 1987, 1990, and 1993. Since the national population of this species is so low, the regular presence of even one nesting pair represents about 1% of the estimated national population. In the Magdalen archipelago, the nesting Roseate Terns seem to shift back and forth among the three largest tern colonies.

Since 1994, no gulls or terns have been recorded as nesting on Ilot C because of fox predation.

Nesting Piping Plovers (globally vulnerable, nationally endangered) have also been recorded regularly on Îlot C since its formation. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, 5 pairs were recorded each year (about 2% of the estimated Atlantic Canada population). However, from 1993 to 1996 only one pair was present, and in 1997 through 1999 breeding plovers were absent.

In addition to the terns and the Piping Plovers, Herring Gulls (441 pairs in 1993) and Great Black-backed Gulls (505 pairs in 1993) have also nested on Îlot C. Northern Pintail, Horned Lark, Spotted Sandpiper, Savannah Sparrow and Semipalmated Plover are all occasional breeders on the islet.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Due to the presence of threatened species, much attention has been directed at this site. The Canadian Wildlife Service has been conducting research on the endangered Piping Plovers in this area since 1987. This information is being used to develop programs that help to increase resident/tourist awareness of the threats facing the threatened Piping Plovers. Due to the sensitivity of these nesting populations, the island should only be observed from a distance, or visited during the non-breeding season.

Efforts are also directed toward the conservation of the nationally endangered Roseate Terns. In the Magdalen Islands, this species of tern nests at only two other locations: the islets off Pointe-aux-Loups, and on Île aux Cochons. Protective measures have been taken at the three colonies to curtail predation by foxes. Electric fences were erected around two colonies, and platforms designed to serve as nest shelters have been set up in each colony to induce the terns to breed.

The nesting birds are also at risk from oil spills, due to the frequent boat traffic travelling through the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Îlot C. Downloaded from on 27/11/2020.