Nettleship, DN (1974): Investigation of knot nests on Ellesmere Island. doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.745767, Supplement to:Nettleship, David N (1974): The breeding of the knot Calidris canutus at Hazen Camp, Ellesmere Island, N.W.T. Polarforschung, 44(1), 8-26, hdl:10013/epic.29394.d001
Knots arrive on Ellesmere Island in late May or early June. At Hazen Camp small flocks were present on 3 June 1966, but the main influx occurred 5 June when many flocks were seen ranging in size from 6 to 60 individuals. The sexes appeared to arrive together, but the manner of pair-formation was not determined. By 7 June pairs were distributed over the tundra with large feeding flocks forming at snowfree wet marshy areas. Most nests were on Dryas-hummocked slopes and tundra, either dry or moist, with some on clay plains and summits in a mixed Dryas and Salix vegetation. A census area of 240 ha supported at least 3 breeding pairs, and possibly 5; the total number of pairs breeding in the Hazen Camp study area was estimated to be about 25 (1.09 pairs/km**2). Egg-laying (4 nests) extended from 15 to 28 June, with 3 of the 4 sets completed between 20 and 23 June. Both sexes incubated, one of the pair more regularly than the other. The song-flight display of the male was performed most frequently during egglaying and incubation. The incubation period of the last egg in one clutch was established as being between 21.5 and 22.4 days. Four nests hatched between 12 and 20 July, and the hatching period of the entire clutch was less than 24 hours. Four of 7 nests (57 %) survived and egg survival (53 %) was low. Families left the nesting area so on after hatching, concentrating at ponds where food was readily available for the young. Both adults attended the young during the pre-fledging period, but the females apparently departed before the young had hedged. Males left once the young could fly and the adult fall migration was complete by early August. Most 01 the young departed belore mid-August. Fall migration is complete by late August or early September.
The breeding season appears to be timed to peak load supply for the young. Adult Chironomidae emergence was highest between 3 and 17 July, the period during which most successful nests hatched. The increasing scarcity of adult insects for the young after mid-July was offset by family movements over the tundra and the early departure of half the adult population. Food also seemed to influence the distribution of breeding pairs aver the tundra, restricting them to the general vicinity of marshes, streams, and ponds where food is most available when the young hatch. Territoriality in the Knot appears to be closely associated with the protection of the nest against predators and has at least a local effect in regulating the number of breeding pairs. Plant material was important in the diet of adult Knots throughout the summer and the primary food from the time of arrival until mid-June. After mid-June the percentage of animal matter increased as dipterous insects became available (especially adult Chironomidae), but plant materials continued to constitute a large part of the diet, usually more than 50 %. The food of the young before fledging consisted principally of adult chironomids.