Earth Snapshot RSS Feed Twitter

Akimiski Island in Frozen James Bay, Canada

52.9N 81.3W

April 3rd, 2010 Category: Snapshots

Canada - March 5th, 2010

Canada - March 5th, 2010

Akimiski Island is the largest island in James Bay (a southeasterly extension of Hudson Bay), Canada, which is part of the Qikiqtaaluk Region of the territory of Nunavut.  Here the island is visible near the western shores of the bay, surrounded by ice. It has an area of 3,001 km2 (1,159 sq mi), making it the 163rd largest island in the world, and Canada’s 29th largest island.

Akimiski Island is only 19 km (12 mi) from the province of Ontario. Standing on the western side of the island, one can see the Ontario coastline.

The island currently has no year round human inhabitants; however, it is part of the Attawapiskat First Nation’s traditional territory and is frequently used for traditional purposes.

With regards to climate, the island’s mean annual temperature: 2.5 °C (36.5 °F). It has an average rainfall of 450 mm (17.72 in) and an average snowfall of 250 mm (9.84 in).

The surface of Akimiski is flat and slopes gradually to the north. Most of the vegetation that covers the island consists of lichen, moss, sedges, and dwarf Black Spruce. The island is a coastal wetland that includes mudflats, tidal marshes, and tidal mudflats. Freshwater streams that flow into southwestern James Bay carry sediments and abundant nutrients that help to sustain the productive waterfowl habitat around Akimiski Island.

Akimiski Island is a Canadian Important Bird Area, and its eastern portion is also a federal Migratory Bird Sanctuary, while much of the coastline is a Key Migratory Bird Terrestrial Habitat site. The coastal waters and wetlands of Akimiski Island (and James Bay in general) are important feeding grounds for many varieties of migratory birds.

James Bay and Hudson Bay are funnel-shaped and consequently cause migrating birds from the Arctic to concentrate in this area. During fall migration, there is an abundance of birds when adults and young are present. In the springtime, the birds tend to reside in the southern areas of James Bay until the northern section thaws.

Leave a Reply