The island, which is owned by the Town of Greenwich, is 5000' south of the mainland shore in Long Island Sound. The habitats are dominated by deciduous vegetation. Site contains woods, salt marsh, a lagoon, sandy beaches and rocky shoreline. Several structures including a lighthouse are found on the site. The Town provides ferry access to the site to town residents.

Ornithological Summary

Great Captains Island is currently the site of the largest heron and egret rookery in Connecticut, with over 300 nesting pairs of nesting egrets and night-herons. There is also a large colony of Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls on the island. Species nesting on the island include: Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Black crowned Night-Heron, American Oystercatcher, and the two gull species. Islands have been shown to be important migratory stopover areas for Neotropical migrant landbirds. More studies are needed to document this aspect of Great Captains Island.

Conservation Issues

Audubon, with funds from the Geoffrey Hughes Foundation, and in cooperation with the Town of Greenwich, is currently conducting a three-year study of the heron rookery to document the habitats of the island, the behavior of the nesting birds, predator threats to the colony, and human disturbance issues. Management recommendations will be provided to the Town based on the results of the study.


Greenwich Department of Parks and Recreation


Primary: Deciduous forest. Secondary: Shrub, salt marsh, estuary.

Land Use

Primary: nature and wildlife conservation. Secondary: other recreation and tourism.

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