[CT Birds] nesting eider on S. Dumpling Is, NY

Glenn Williams gswilliams9 at yahoo.com
Tue May 18 20:29:35 EDT 2010


I made my annual field trip to South Dumpling Island on the Connecticut/New York border today (5/18).  We found a new high count of 18 Common Eider nests and 45 Common Eider.  Impossible to know how many nests were missed as they are usually fairly well hidden in what vegetation remains on the island and we avoided disturbing them as best we could.  Unfortunately, no more egrets nest on the island and only one pair of Black-crowned Night-Herons remain.  When I first went there seven years ago, there were many egret and heron nests, as well as some Glossy Ibis and there was much vegetation.  The island is now dominated by Double-crested Cormorants (almost 200 nests) and the large gulls (about 60 nests).

There was some discussion this winter about nesting requirements for Common Eider and what islands in Connecticut had potential.  It was believed that eider only nested where there was beach with sand, gravel, or small rock.  This was definitely not the case on South Dumpling.  About two thirds of the nests were in vegetation above very large boulders and sometimes a steep decline to the water.  Two nests were out in the open and among the boulder line, not unlike the Herring and Great Black-backed Gull nests.  One nest was in the center of the island quite a distance from the water and not well hidden.

I would think that some Connecticut islands fit the requirements for nesting eider and with the big incursion this winter, may very well be nesting in Connecticut right now.

Glenn Williams


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