Marine birds of the Hell Gate Polynya, Nunavut, Canada
AbstractThe importance of the Hell Gate Polynya to marine birds in High Arctic Canada has not been assessed for two decades. Our breeding season surveys in 2002–04 found 19 species of marine birds using the polynya, in annual numbers perhaps reaching 25 000 individuals. The site appears to support nationally significant populations of northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), Thayer’s gull (Larus thayeri) and High Arctic brant (Branta bernicla hrota), as well as locally important numbers of other species including common eiders (Somateria mollissima borealis) and black guillemots (Cepphus grylle). The polynya may be particularly important for migration, as many species are observed here earlier than elsewhere in the High Arctic.
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