[CT Birds] Common Tern Colony at Cockenoe Island, Westport, sad news...

Frank Mantlik mantlik at sbcglobal.net
Mon Jul 27 21:04:35 EDT 2020

 Sean,Thanks for your report on the Common Tern colony at Cockenoe. What disappointing news! Such a shame. Do you think it was a result of high-tide flooding? Or maybe a collapse in prey fish, as last year? Or both?
This coincides with the huge influx of adult Common Terns in the mouth of the Housatonic River in the past week. I estimated 550 at/near Milford Point yesterday. I saw only a few fresh juveniles and one 1st-summer bird. My suspicion was that these flocks were here due to nest failure at area colonies (possibly Falkner Is., Cockenoe Is, and Great Gull Is.).
Frank MantlikStratford
    On Monday, July 27, 2020, 02:26:55 PM EDT, Sean Murtha via CTBirds <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org> wrote:  
A visit on Sunday afternoon by kayak to the Common Tern nesting colony on the Cockenoe Island sandbar revealed a disappointing outcome...  the colony was deserted, with only one juvenile tern seen on the bar, and later a few flyover adult terns, with perhaps another juvenile (or the same one).  Numbers were well into the hundreds just the weekend before, so we fear that the intervening Spring tides may have washed over the site.  A sad outcome, but an ever-present risk and one that has happened before.
Oystercatchers also nest on the sandbar, and several were still present, though only one still in juvenile plumage.  Very few shorebirds were there when we were, but numbers of Ring-billed Gulls and Laughing Gulls were up.
-Sean (and Brendan) Murtha, Norwalk

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