South Shore (Port Joli sector)

Country/territory: Canada

IBA criteria met: -
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 46,000 ha

Birds Canada / Nature Canada

Site description (baseline)
The Port Joli sector of the South Shore is located along the southeast coast of southern Nova Scotia, facing the Atlantic Ocean. The site consists of a long stretch of shoreline between the towns of Rockland, on the west, to Summerville Centre, on the east. Included in this IBA are the following beaches that are of significance for Piping Plovers: Black Point Beach, Matthews Lake Louis Head Beach, Sable River, Johnston Pond, Herbert Rocks, Port L'Hebert, Sandy Cove Beach, Port Joli, Joli Point, St. Catherine's River Beach, Little Port Joli, Cranberry Pond, Wobamkek Beach, and Summerville Beach. Many of the preceding sites back on to tidal basins, which are dry at low tide. This site also features three large inlets consisting of mud flats and eelgrass in the upper reaches they are Port Joli, Port LHebert, and one at the outlet of the Sable River. Rocky shores with reefs separate these inlets. The coastline is irregularly shaped with a few steep headlands, although most bays are shallow.

Key biodiversity
This site supports large numbers of breeding Piping Plover (globally vulnerable, and nationally endangered). A total of 35 adults, representing about 1.3% of the estimated total Atlantic population and about 8% of the estimated Atlantic Canada population were recorded at this site in 1996. In 1991, 38 Piping Plovers were recorded at this site.

Canada Geese (from the Newfoundland and Labrador population) are also found at this site in significant numbers during fall and spring migrations, and during the winter. It is thought that one flight of geese passes through in the fall, and that a second flight arrives in early winter and remains there for the winter. Since surveys started in 1914, between 3,000 and 6,000 wintering Canada Geese, representing 2 to 5% of the population, are regularly observed at this site. The most recent survey, in 1999, found 3067 geese, and occasional peaks of over 11,000 birds have been recorded.

In the early 1960s, as many as 15 eastern population Harlequin Ducks (nationally endangered) were observed at this site. An average of only 8 birds was recorded between 1973 and 1996, but then in January 1999, 45 Harlequin Ducks were seen. The American Black Duck is regularly seen here in good numbers (1,612, winter 1999). Other wintering waterfowl include Common Goldeneye, Common Loon and Common Eider.

During the fall migration each year, about 2,000 shorebirds are recorded. In some years, Black-bellied Plovers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Willets, Least Sandpipers, and Pectoral Sandpipers are found in significant numbers (greater than 1% of their respective estimated populations).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: South Shore (Port Joli sector). Downloaded from on 08/06/2023.