Stewart B. McKinney
National Wildlife Refuge
|733 Old Clinton Road
Westbrook, CT 06498
Phone Number: 860-399-2513
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Continued . . . Salt Meadow Unit The approximately 2 miles of trails at Salt Meadow Unit in Westbrook wind through grassland, forest, and marsh habitats. The 9 acres of fields provide a view of woodcock, bluebirds, tree swallows, wild turkeys and numerous species of butterflies and dragonflies. While down at the marsh you can expect to see great egrets, glossy ibis, snowy egrets, belted kingfishers, osprey and many other species. If you are lucky, you just might catch a glimpse of a red fox, a coyote, or a red tailed hawk. In partnership with Potopaug Audubon Society, the refuge hosts many wildlife events at Salt Meadow Unit throughout the year. These events have included owl walks, waterfowl walks, woodcock walks, bird banding demonstrations, and a presentation on live birds of prey.
Sheffield Island Unit The trail at Sheffield Island Unit allows visitors to view a tidal salt water pond which is utilized by egrets and belted kingfishers. The island is also heavily used by white-tailed deer. Adjacent to the refuge on Sheffield Island, the Norwalk Seaport Association maintains a historic stone lighthouse and keepers quarters. Tours are given of this lighthouse by the Norwalk Seaport Association for a nominal charge. For more information on ferry availability, please visit www.soundnavigation.com
Outer Island Unit The pink granite (also known as schist) which dominates the geology of Outer Island Unit makes for spectacular photographic opportunities. While on the island, it is also likely that you will see common terns and roseate terns feeding off shore, green herons (these birds nest on the island), great egrets and snowy egrets feeding at below the shoreline. For more information on the island's visitation hours, please contact the refuge.
Great Meadows Unit In the future, a nature trail will open at Great Meadows Unit (not open as of February, 2007). From this trail, visitors may see northern harriers, red breasted mergansers, black ducks, pied billed grebe, great blue herons, and numerous other bird species. When completed, this trail will be fully accessible and even include voice recorded messages for the visually disabled.
Milford Point Unit The overlook at Milford Point Unit allows visitors the opportunity to view the 9 acre barrier beach. Shorebirds such as sandpipers, oystercatchers, least terns and even the Federally Threatened piping plover may be spied from the platform. To decrease disturbance to this fragile area, wildlife viewing must be accomplished from the observation deck or the very tip of the peninsula. Fishermen and visitors may walk to the tip of the peninsula by way of a marked fishing access, but are deterred from stopping along the way.
Falkner Island Unit Falkner Island Unit is closed to public visitation throughout the year due the fragile status of the Federally Endangered roseate terns that nest there. However, the refuge does open the island for an open house each September. During the open house, visitors have an opportunity to visit an actual research camp and a historic lighthouse commissioned in 1803. The lighthouse, research facility and the natural beauty of the island allow for many photographic opportunities.
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