This site is a large, privately-owned island located between the tips of
the North and South Forks of Long Island, between Gardiners Bay to
the west and the open waters of Block Island Sound to the east. The
island has a variety of habitats, including ocean bluffs, salt marshes,
deciduous forests, brackish ponds, ocean beaches, and maritime
grasslands.

Ornithological Summary

Significant numbers of wintering waterfowl occur here. For example,
1,045 American Black Ducks were counted here in December 1995 as
part of the Montauk Christmas Bird Count. The island contains one of
the largest concentrations of nesting Ospreys in the state and possibly
the largest on the east coast, with 34 active nests in 1983. Historically,
over 300 pairs of Ospreys nested on the island. Colonial nesting birds
breeding here include the Double-crested Cormorant (1,545 pairs in
1998; over 50% of Long Island?s population), Great Egret (30 pairs in
1998), Snowy Egret (10 pairs in 1998), Black-crowned Night-Heron (5
pairs in 1998), Glossy Ibis (two pairs in 1998), American Oystercatcher
(eight pairs in 1995), Herring Gull (1,057 pairs in 1998), Great Blackbacked
Gull (2,000 pairs in 1998), Roseate Tern (three pairs in 1999),
Common Tern (70 pairs in 1999), Least Tern (39 pairs in 1999),
and Black Skimmer (13 pairs in 1996). The Northern Harrier and
Grasshopper Sparrow are confirmed breeders, and Barn Owl, Horned
Lark, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Seaside Sparrow are probable
breeders.

Conservation Issues

This site is listed in the 2002 Open Space Conservation Plan as a priority
site under the project name Peconic Pinelands Maritime Reserve
Project. One family has owned the island for over three centuries and
natural areas on the island are largely undisturbed. Ideas for increasing
recreational use or development should be evaluated with regard to
how they impact birds and bird conservation.

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