Live animals, giant tomato plant-eating caterpillars, birds and butterflies were all on display Sat. Aug. 3 at FIConservancy’s second annual “Conservation on Parade”.

Marine debris organized for display at FIConservancy’s Aug. 3, “Conservation on Parade”.

FIConservancy continues to battle the tide of marine debris and its relentless assault on Fishers Island shores.

“By now, we have all seen the impact of marine debris and the importance of helping to sustain shoreline life. Our beach cleanup program is more important than ever, as  we face the growing challenges of protecting and preserving our natural world,” said Kristen Peterson, FIConservancy executive director.

MARINE DEBRIS UPDATE:

January-July 2019:

January, 251 pounds marine debris collected

February, 835.5 pounds marine debris collected

March, 825 pounds marine debris collected

April, 480 pounds marine debris collected

May, 431 pounds marine debris collected

June, 769 pounds marine debris collected

July, 345 pounds marine debris collected

January-June, over 441 hrs work

(January-February: Over 21 syringes collected)

In 2018, FIConservancy removed:

Over 2,000 pounds of beach and coastal debris;

Over 500 plastic bottles;

Over 179 pieces of fishing gear, lines and lures;

Over 172 pieces of line

Over 1,000 pieces (24 pounds) of small plastic (in three hours!)

 

 

MPA (Marine Protected Area) Watch is a San Diego, Cal.-based community science program, where volunteers collect scientific data on coastal and marine resource use and share it with scientists and policy makers. Fishers Island is the first community outside of California to be included in an MPA Watch pilot program launched in August, 2019.

The water appears to be “boiling” in front of the Conant home, east of Silver Eel Cove, early in August. “Boiling” water has also been observed off Wilderness Point, with lucky fishermen casting lines close to the disturbance.

“Boiling” water is usually caused by a feeding frenzy of larger fish during fall migration, when they move in and out of bait schools turning the surface into a “boiling” cauldron of activity, eating everything in sight.

Sarah Conant Photo

Osprey flies above abandoned nest at Four Corners on East End of Fishers Island. FIConservancy Photo

There are no answers. Just questions. The problem is reportedly not widespread, but there are fewer than half the fledgings on Fishers Island in 2019 (15) than there were in 2018 (34).

Ken Edwards Sr., speaking for the Ferguson Museum, said, “The site at Four Corners (Bagley Reid’s) was moved from the power line pole to the deMenil property, 100 feet to the south of the original pole, by the Fishers Island Electric Co. [for safety reasons], with most of the original nest [intact]. Birds came back but did not raise any young.

“Why so few young this year is a good question. The answer is not clear. Was it the cold wet spring? Not enough food?

“Osprey expert Alan Poole will be speaking at the Ferguson Museum on September 7. Join us, and perhaps he will have some answers.

“Thanks to Andrew Edwards and his drone for helping with the count.”

See Andrew’s osprey fledgling count on fishers island.net.

Olivia Backhaus was the first Island Sentinel, when FIConservancy established the program in 2013, and she spent the next five summers as a Sentinel. This fall, she will attend Georgetown Law in Washington, D.C., studying environmental law.

A record-breaking heatwave did not deter nearly 450 people who attended FIConservancy’s annual Sunset on the Beach, Sat. July 20, 2019 at the Fishers Island Club Beach Club.

There are several quiet coves on the western end of Fishers Island where Eider Ducks feel quite at home and appear to be thriving this July.

I often think of our late Island Naturalist Edwin Horning’s sightings and field observations. Between 1970-75, he witnessed only eight ducks at Race Point, and only during winter months. But now I see how this diving sea duck, once thought of as a “rare” visitor from the northern tundra, has truly acclimated to climate and available healthy habitat.

This summer, you’ll see Eider Duck families nestled below the cliffs near the Naval radar station south side, or foraging just outside Silver Eel Cove’s ferry slip (Little Stony) and preening in the sultry air on beaches of Sanctuary of Sands.

From the Field, Field Note by Justine Kibbe, July 26, 2019

It has been a banner year for Fishers Island’s returning shorebirds!