and Description: Pond Island NWR is a 10-acre island located in the mouth of the Kennebec River in Georgetown, Sagadahoc County. The island includes a variety of habitats including sandy beach, beach grass meadow, poison ivy/raspberry shrubland, fescue meadows and steep rocky sea cliffs. Pond Island NWR is owned by the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Maine Coastal Islands NWR and is cooperatively managed with the National Audubon Society. The island has an automated light and horn maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Restoration History: The
mouth of the Kennebec River has been an important tern nesting
area in Maine for more than 150 years; however by 1987 no birds
were nesting in this region of the coast. Tern restoration on Pond
Island began in 1996, with a gull management and social attraction
program—the first terns nested in 1996. These were the first to
nest here since 1937. Tern numbers peaked in 2006 with 486 pairs;
however, significant annual predation by Great Horned Owls has
hampered recovery efforts as the owls cause the terns to abandon
their chicks at night, increasing mortality. The annual success
of the colony is directly related to success in managing Owls.
In most years, there is abundant forage fish.
Island is closed to public visitation during the seabird breeding season
(April 1st to August 31st). Staff provides travel to the island by
motorized inflatable from the home of Walter and Anne Gamble on Georgetown
point. The 1-˝ mile trip takes 15 to 20 minutes. The Pond Island NWR
landing is on a beautiful sand beach; however, swirling currents in
the Kennebec River can create choppy conditions and unpredictable waves.
All personal gear, food and supplies are moved ashore on the landing
beach. Island staff are also responsible for securing their own supplies
and groceries as needed when no one is scheduled to arrive from the
Audubon base camp in Bremen. Use of personal vehicles is necessary.
Island Living and Accommodations: During
the field season 2 people work on the island at a time, andwith the
exception of the supervisor, staff or volunteers remain on the island
for an average of 1-2 weeks. A 12’ square canvas expedition tent and covered wooden kitchen shelter serve as the base camp and accommodate food storage and research equipment. The "kitchen" is equipped with a refrigerator and propane stove. There are two tent platforms for personal tents and a composting toilet. A solar system powers research needs.
Nesting and Migratory Birds: Common
Terns are the principal breeding species, but occasionallyRoseate and
Arctic Terns also breed here. Likewise, Common Eiders also nest here.
Despite the islands’ proximity to the mainland, 119 bird species have been recorded here; including Maine notable records for Scissor-tailed flycatcher and Black Skimmer.
Island Monitoring, Research and Management Projects: The Pond Island NWR field season usually begins in late May and continues through late July. The island supervisor is responsible for coordinating the timing of specific projects and participation throughout the field season as well as writing a summary report at the end of the field season. Work includes, but is not limited to the following projects; annual tern and eider census, tern productivity and chick growth, tern provisioning studies, tern foraging study, daily weather and bird lists, and gull and predator management. Public interaction may include restricting visitor access from nesting areas.
here to see old photos of the Pond Island Light Station
here for a PDF map of Pond Island
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