Date: 7/28/20 8:00 am From: Tony Eason via CTBirds <ctbirds...> Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Cockenoe Island terns
As a fisherman that is often near Cockenoe fishing and observing the tern colony and other birds on the spit/island I've observed that there seems to be plenty of forage for terns this season. I've seen them feeding just about everywhere from mid-sound into all the bays very consistently. I'm keenly aware of the bait/forage availability as that drives my focus on the what I'm fishing for and there has been a lot of small bait (sand eels ((earlier this season)), silversides, and other small "rain bait") just about everywhere. I've watched terns returning to the spit from all directions as a result, rather than the Conveyor Belt seen when only sand eels at Old Mill are the main focus. My two cents. On Tuesday, July 28, 2020, 10:37:35 AM EDT, Sean Murtha via CTBirds <ctbirds...> wrote:
As several birders have chimed in about the abandonment of the tern colony at Cockenoe, I want to re-iterate that my suspicion of high Spring Tides being the culprit is merely that- a suspicion. We have been checking in on it frequently, but not with scientific regularity- and viewing by kayak is challenging at best, as the vantage point is low and unsteady (we never land or get out)- so getting a clear picture of breeding success is indirect- adults returning with food, and young birds wandering from the nesting area. We missed the prior weekend, but another ebird report indicates that the colony was thriving. That sudden change within a week, coinciding with the New Moon on Tuesday and some heavy storms on Wednesday, led to my conclusion.
That said, the stresses on these birds from pleasure-boaters and environmental factors such as fish abundance are immense, and cannot be discounted. It would be interesting to know how other area colonies are doing.