Date: 7/17/18 9:17 am
From: Larry via CTBirds <ctbirds...>
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Cockenoe Island highlights- Red-necked Grebe
Back in my fishing days it was common to see terns fly across the sound to
say around Eaton's Neck Long and back to Cockenoe with baitfish in their
bill, it seems like a long distance to us, but we don't have wings.
I'm looking at some of my older photo's of the Cockenoe "Tern Bar", there
is very little left of it these days, and what is left can just about be
covered over on our spring tides, and if there happens to be a boat wake,
wind waves, or storm at this time, water can go over the top of the spit
washing everything (eggs, chicks) away.
Just take a good look at the everchanging debris on the top of that spit,
how does that ever get there? High tides and big waves. Note that on any
one day the debris is there and on another day it's gone, and on another
day there is new stuff, When there are lower tides the debris stays the

A little history....

Irene in August 2011 and a very strong Nor'easter later that year really
took its toll on the landscape of that bar, these storms washed all
vegetation off the bar and worst it eroded much of the bar, probably losing
half of the above high tide land mass.
The following spring is when the bar became attractive ot Common and Least
Terns, (it wasn't for years prior, but had held Piping Plovers and others
in years past, FM may recall)
That May of 2012 is when I discovered the terns setting up their nesting
colony just before Memorial Day weekend, after a ton of phone calls to
many, Charlie Barnard was able to help and stepped up buying stakes,
roping, flags and everything needed, I picked him up from shore and we had
the nesting area all roped off before the sunset. The colony did well.
That late October, Sandy came along and eroded more of the bar, it was now
really getting much lower and smaller,
Fast forward to this year, I could not believe what little nesting area is
left, and today what remains is barely above the spring tide lines, never
mind wake, waves and storms.
Incidentally, there have been years since 20012 when big spring tides and
storms knocked out all nest and eggs, fortunately terns can re-nest a few
times in season, and the colony survived. I have these Cockenoe nesting
failures and recoveries well documented, I don't follow so much these days.

When I was a child back in the early 60's, that bar extended at HIGH TIDE
about as far as it does today at LOW TIDE and was very wide. I would walk
from the northern tip of that bar (today's low tide) to the main Island at
HIGH TIDE and only get my ankles wet and that was in just a little area
near the main island (where the PIPL nested this year)
On weekends at any high tide there could be hundreds of people picnicing,
sunbathing or whatever on the once huge bar that existed back then, believe
me this was the place to be if you had a boat back then. I spent a lot of
time on the bar in the 60's and 70's with family and friends
Natural erosion will eventually overcome the remnants of this bar, it's
just a matter on time, in the upcoming years there will be less and less
productive nesting on this bar until it's just a few stones that are awash
at high tide.
The good news is that Oystercatchers have expanded their nesting areas to
other parts of the island, to places that they did not nest just a few
years back, and this year Piping Plover gave it a shot.

I'd bet that in another thousand years or so, that whole island will be
reduced to a patch of land, about a hundred yards long and thirty yards
wide, and if the winds and tides are right, come May you might find
hundreds of screaming terns flying back and forth to feed their chicks, on
a small sandbar that what was once known as Cockenoe Island

Larry Flynn

On Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 5:12 PM, Tina and Peter Green via CTBirds <
<ctbirds...> wrote:

> Westport- Cockenoe Island-Red-necked Grebe continues just east of the Tern
> colony area, 9 Sanderlings, 50-60 Common Terns, all off of their nests and
> looking like they are getting ready to leave the area. It is obvious there
> is no food for them at this end of Long Island Sound.
> Canal Road Marsh- 6 Greater Yellowlegs
> Tina Green
> with AJ & Sue Hand
> Westport by boat
> Sent from my iPhone
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