This site consists of a bay, marsh, and barrier beach complex (with
adjoining uplands) on the south shore of Long Island, extending from
the Floyd Estate in Mastic (mainland portion of Fire Island National
Seashore) in the west to Westhampton Beach in the east. The site
includes Haven?s Estate and Cupsogue County Park, both owned by
Suffolk County. It is a productive area for marine finfish, shellfish, and
other wildlife.

{link:For IBA map, click here.|http://www.audubon.org/bird/iba/usibac/2008_P7/NY842m_MorichesBay08.pdf}

Ornithological Summary

This site is important for nesting wading birds. West Inlet Island
alone supports large numbers of Great Egrets (108 pairs in 2004),
Snowy Egrets (59 pairs in 2004), Little Blue Heron (two pairs in 2004),
Tricolored Heron (one pair in 2004), Black-crowned Night-Heron (155
pairs in 2004), and Glossy Ibis (44 pairs in 2004). The site also supports
at risk species such as Osprey (breeds), Piping Plovers (48 pairs in
1998), Roseate Terns (four pairs in 1998), Common Terns (631 pairs
in 1999), Least Terns (six pairs in 1999), Black Skimmers (23 pairs in
1998), and Seaside Sparrow (breeds). Herring Gulls (368 pairs in 1995,
3% of the state population.) and Great Black-backed Gulls (168 pairs
in 1995; 3% of the state population) nest here as well. The salt marshes
support breeding Clapper Rails, American Oystercatchers, Willets,
and Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrows. The site is also an important
waterfowl wintering area. NYS DEC mid-winter aerial waterfowl
surveys from 1975-1984 documented over 5,000 individuals on average
(8,382 in peak year). These included an average of 350 Brant (580
maximum), 400 Canada Geese (870 maximum), 1,100 American Black
Ducks (1,580 maximum), 225 Mallards (430 maximum), 2,150 scaup
(4,470 maximum), and 400 Red-breasted Mergansers (920 maximum).Congregations-Waterfowl Mixed species Over 5,000 ind. waterfowl on average, with 8,382 ind.during the peak year.Congregations-WaterbirdsTerns Estimated 637 pairs in 1999,1,129 in 1998, 920 in 1997,1,504 in 1996, 586 in 1995,
216 in 1994, 948 in 1993.Congregations-
Wading Birds
Mixed species Islands in the bay easily support more than 100 pairs of nesting herons.

Conservation Issues

This site is listed in the 2002 Open Space Conservation Plan as a priority
site under the project name Long Island South Shore Estuary Preserve.
Portions of this site have been designated as a state Bird Conservation
Area. Water pollution, including that caused by chemical contamination,
oil spills, and sewage or storm water runoff, will adversely affect the
area?s biological productivity. Efforts should be made to control waste
discharged from recreational boats and upland sources. Construction
and maintenance of shoreline structures, including docks, piers, and
bulkheads, should be avoided in undisturbed areas. Elimination
of salt marsh and intertidal areas through excavation or filling that
would decrease available habitat for salt marsh breeding birds should
be prevented. As nesting Piping Plovers and Least Terns are highly
susceptible to human disturbance, recreational activities, including boat
landing, off-road vehicle use, and picnicking, should be minimized
near nesting areas from April through mid-August. Fencing, beach
closures, posting, beach warden patrols, and public education may be
required in some areas. Monitoring of at-risk species and waterfowl
should continue.

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