Eagles Island is a large expanse of brackish marsh and swamp forest located between the Brunswick and Cape Fear Rivers near Wilmington. The southern half of the island is brackish marsh with diked, dredged-material disposal impoundments. The impoundments support shorebirds, waterfowl, and waterbirds. The impoundments comprise approximately 356 ha (880 acres).

Ornithological Summary

The site supports great numbers and a great diversity of shorebirds during migration. The most numerous shorebirds include semipalmated sandpiper, least sandpiper, short-billed dowitcher, greater yellowlegs and lesser yellowlegs. All of the shorebirds that regularly occur in the region have been seen here, including many rarities. It is probably the only breeding site for Black-necked Stilts in southern North Carolina. As many as 33 adults and 15 young have been recorded. The site is a good are for winter sparrows; more than 1,000 are present during some winters. Nesting anhingas, painted buntings and tree swallows have been recorded. Large numbers of bobolink (>1,000), mixed flocks of red-winged blackbirds and grackles (>10,000) roost in the the marsh during winter and migration.

Conservation Issues

Timing of disposal of dredged material, pesticides from mosquito spraying, control of water levels, sea
level rise.

Control of water levels in the impoundments is a concern, along with spraying for mosquitoes and contaminants in dredged material deposited in the impoundments.

Ownership

The impoundments are gated and restricted by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The rest of the site is in public and private ownership. The Eagles Island coalition is working to protect the marsh.

Habitat

brackish marsh, man-made impoundments, small patches of pine and mixed forest.

Interior areas of the diked impoundments consists of a scattered and patchy, monotypic stand of Phragmites. The coverage of Phragmites depends on the duration between deposits of dredged material. The area outside of the diked area is brackish marsh consisting of cattail, threesquare and cordgrass. Shallow water areas and mud flat are present throughout.

Land Use

Conservation, disposal of dredged material, hunting.

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