[CT Birds] Least terns and Morse Beach

Orchids bulbophyllum at charter.net
Wed Jun 3 18:59:20 EDT 2009

Least Terns, at least not large numbers have not always nested at  
Morse Beach.  I do not recall the date but think it was in the early  
90's when a disturbance at Eatons Neck (?) on the north shore of Long  
Island lead to the arrival of terns at Morse Beach.  So the tern  
colonies do move.

The area I suspect the birds were nesting at Morse Point (could be  
wrong on this) was the eastern tip behind the primary dune.  When I  
walked this area last year it was apparent that high marsh plants of  
the tidal marsh were colonizing the otherwise barren sands - a sure  
sign of sea level rise from climate change (?).  We know from the New  
London tide gauge, that since 1980, sea levels has been rising as  
twice their former rate.

We also see along the entire coast of Connecticut, the rapid expansion  
of the tidal marsh grass Juncus gerardii (black grass actually a rush)  
into the uplands.  It is likely that this migration onto uplands  
(marine transgression) is due in part to the 18.6 lunar nodal cycle.   
I suspect on top of that is the accelerated sea level rise effect.

It may be that at the current stage of the lunar nodal cycle, Morse  
Beach may not be suitable to sustain tern nesting.

Ron, Ashford

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