On the Wild Side!
E-Newsletter for the Chesapeake Bay Field Office


Restored Poplar Island Attracts Colonial Nesters!

Tricolored heron. Photo by Gary Stolz
A photo of a tri-colored heron. Photo by Gary Stolz

The 2010 nesting season is off to great start on Poplar Island. Chesapeake Bay Field Office biologists monitoring bird use have recorded one colony of least terns, six colonies of common terns, approximately 80 pairs of snowy egrets, two confirmed oyster catcher nests and two more probable, two tricolored heron nesting pairs and 1,500 double crested cormorant nests. In addition to the colonial birds, biologists also confirmed 10 bank swallow pairs nesting, numerous mallard ducks nesting as well as several pairs of black duck.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Chesapeake Bay Field Office is leading wildlife management for the Poplar Island project. Records from the 1600’s described Poplar Island as being over 2,000 acres. By 1990, erosion reduced the island to remnants totaling less than 10 acres. Using dredged material from Chesapeake Bay shipping channels, workers are steadily rebuilding the island and restoring its habitat.

More than 130 bird species use the wetlands, beaches and adjacent waters of Poplar Island for foraging, resting, and/or nesting. Other commonly observed birds include: osprey, cormorants, and several waterfowl species.

In addition to nesting birds, biologists are monitoring plant growth and wildlife use in the wetlands which provide cover and nesting habitat for several species of birds and small mammals such as muskrat, meadow voles and white-footed mice.

Although not as dense as 2009, the submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) beds in the shallow waters of Poplar Harbor are fairly lush with horned pondweed and an adjacent reference site is full of widgeon grass. The success of these beds is due in part to the management of invasive mute swans.

For more information about Poplar Island Restoration, contact:
Pete McGowan

Left: A Common tern in flight. Photo by Leo Miranda. Second from left; Common tern nest . Oyster catcher and oyster catcher eggs on beach nest. USFWS photos.
Photo of a common ern in flight. Photo by Leo Miranda. A photo of a common tern nest with three eggs. USFWS photo. Photo of an oyster catcher. USFWS photo. A photo of an oyster catcher nest with two eggs. USFWS photo.


Last updated: September 22, 2009