The Mary’s Point Shorebird Interpretation center of the Shepody National Wildlife Area is owned by Environment Canada and administered by both Nature NB and Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service. The wetlands at Mary’s Point were recognized to be of international importance in 1982 when they were designated as a Ramsar site. In 1987 Mary’s Point had the additional honour of being included as a Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) site.
During the fall migration (20 July to mid August), Mary’s Point becomes a stop over site for over 300,000 Semipalmated Sandpipers (75% of world population) as well as large numbers of other shorebirds species. These Arctic-breeding birds rest here to feast on mud shrimp and other small crustaceans enabling them to double their weight in 2 weeks which then allows them to fly non-stop from here to as far away as South America! As an important migratory bird resting and feeding area, Nature NB relies on education as a primary tool to effect conservation and minimize human disturbance.
A Bio-Blitz held during the summer of 2008 had 10 biologists, geologists, entomologists and other experts in natural sciences descend on Mary’s Point over a 2 day period where a biological inventory was conducted. Nature NB will follow up with those involved to compile a record of observations and collections.
While viewing flocks of 1000′s of Semipalmated Sandpipers skimming just above the ocean’s surface, or seeing the shorebirds roosting like beach pebbles at high tide is unquestionably spectacular, Mary’s Point offers the opportunity for visitors to follow designated trails along the shoreline and forests where wildflowers and land birds can capture the hiker’s interest. Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons are commonly sighted, and for the adventuresome a trip to the extreme tip can be rewarded by searching amongst the rocky shoreline for fossils or on the uplands for the ruins of an old quarry and settlement.