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The Cape Pine and St. Shotts Barren (NF015)


The Cape Pine and St. Shotts Barren (NF015)

St. Shotts, Newfoundland and Labrador

Latitude 46.626°N
Longitude 53.568°W
Altitude 0 - 75m
Area 57.40km²

Site Description

The Cape Pine and St. Shotts coastal barren is located on the southern tip of the Avalon Peninsula, which is the most southerly tip of Newfoundland and Labrador. To the west is St. Mary's Bay and to the east is Trespassy Bay. The weather is characterized by very cool summers and mild winters with the vegetation being primarily moss heath. The only known Rhacomitrium barrens commmunity in North America occurs at this site and some Empetrum heath is present as well. The IBA encompasses a 1 2 km band of coastal barren from Cape Pine to a point about 2km west of the village of St. Shotts. Within this 2km coastal band, black crowberrry (Empretrum nigrum) appears to be more abundant (than in areas beyond the band) and it attracts American Golden-Plover and Whimbrel. In addition to plovers, the Avalon Peninsula caribou herd uses the area as part of their summer range.


Each fall, hundreds of American Golden-Plovers (over 1% of the global population) stage in The Cape Pine and St. Shotts area, feeding possibly for the last time before their trans-oceanic flight to central and southern South America. Adult and immature American Golden-Plovers migrate at different times. The adults migrate first, between August and September and the immatures then follow from mid- September to late October. There is some overlap, as immatures can appear in late August and some adults may linger well into October. The peak counts of immatures and adults at this site suggest that a minimum of 1,000 American Golden-Plovers are present. This may represent from 2, to as much as 10% of the estimated global population (populations of this species are poorly known because few surveys are completed in the upland habitats that are frequented during migration). Given the probability of turnover during the fall migration, it is likely that the actual numbers passing though this area is much higher.

In addition to the plovers, dozens of Whimbrel can also be observed in the Cape Pine and St. Shotts area.

Conservation Issues

Very few threats are present at this site. Most of the land is not useful for farming and is crown land, owned by the provincial government. Some of the area immediately adjacent to St. Shotts is privately owned and the area to the west of St. Shotts is used for domestic animal grazing. A sod farm has also been established and plovers have appeared in large numbers in the sod fields since they were first planted 1992. Local bird watchers have only known about this location since 1998 and so it is likely that the number of people travelling to these fields to monitor the plovers will increase in the future.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Manx Shearwater
Number Year Season
Black-headed Gull
Number Year Season
Little Gull
Number Year Season
Common Eider
Number Year Season