Wildlife & Habitat

  • Porgy

    Porgy - USFWS.

    Stenotomus chrysops, is a fish which occurs primarily in the Atlantic from Massachusetts to North Carolina. Commonly known as porgy, the larvae of this species usually end up near the coast where they take between two to three years to mature. Averaging between ½ to four pounds they are fished for by both commercial and recreational fishermen. Their light flavor makes them great for pan frying, broiling or baking. During porgy season, fishermen line up along the coastline of Target Rock National Wildlife Refuge to fill their quotas.

  • Osprey

    Osprey in nest - USFWS.

    The osprey, sometimes known as a fish eagle or fish hawk, is a common sight along the bay in the spring and summer months (March – September). Their outstretched wings can span over five feet across. Ospreys are very well adapted to catch and eat fish. They can bend their outer toe backwards to help hold slippery fish and have sharp spicules on the bottom of their toes to help hold the fish. Osprey can also close their nostrils when plunging into the water to catch their prey. Their large hooked beak and talons help them eat the fish when it finds a resting place. 

  • Wetlands

    Wetlands - Richard Sack.

    Wetlands like the brackish pond provide important habitat to Long Island’s wildlife. Here, the tide from Huntington Bay floods this pond daily and mixes with the freshwater from the surrounding watershed. The result—a pond with salinity lower than that of the Bay, teeming with life from plants to birds, turtles, mammals, and fish.

    Microscopic plants and animals inhabit the pond and serve as food for other invertebrates and small fish. Black ducks and other puddle ducks feed on the invertebrates and aquatic plants. Herons and egrets silently stalk the water’s edge preying on fish.

    A ring of smooth cordgrass lines the pond. It’s roots are adapted to filter out excess salt from absorbed water, which is then secreted through leaf pores. As the land becomes drier, cordgrass gives way to hightide bush, a woody plant which produces distinctive white flowers in early autumn. Red cedar and other trees border the upland edge of the pond. The sun loving cedar bears bluish berries, providing food for robins, catbirds, mockingbirds, thrushes and others.