and Description: This 24-acre island is located in Saco Bay 3
miles east of Old Orchard Beach, York County. It is the center piece
of the Phineas W. Sprague Memorial Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is comprised
of three distinct islands and several prominent rocky outcrops. A
pygmy maritime deciduous forest dominates the interior of Stratton
Island and provides vital nesting habitat for wading birds, while
the islands southern beaches provide ideal habitat for nesting terns.
The island has a rich human history dating to the 17th century and
remnants of an island farm remain visible today. The Sanctuary is
owned by the National Audubon Society. Proutís Neck Audubon Society,
Proutís Neck Womenís Auxiliary and York Audubon Society provide financial
and logistic support.
Seabird and Restoration
History: Terns have nested on Stratton Island since at least
1900 and in the early 1930ís supported the largest Roseate Tern colony
in Maine with ~ 200pr. Tern numbers fluctuated dramatically between
the late 1950ís and early 1980ís and by 1984 the island was abandoned-
due primarily to competition for nesting habitat by Herring and Great
Black-backed Gulls. Tern restoration began on Stratton Island in
1986 using decoys and sound recordings combined with resident island
stewards that worked to displace gulls from tern nesting habitat.
Tern numbers peaked in 2001 with over 2,000 total nesting pairs.
Predation has had a significant impact on both numbers and success
since the inception of restoration work.
Island is open to public visitation; however access is restricted
during the nesting season (April 1st Ė August 31st) to the designated
landing area (Little Stratton and Bluff Islands are closed throughout
the nesting season). Individuals visiting the island must secure
their own transportation or join organized tours. In most summers, Maine
Audubon Society offers 3 tours. Maine Audubon also offers
volunteer work day experiences to assist with vegetation management.
Staff provides travel to the island from the Proutís neck yacht
club either by motorized inflatable or aboard the projectís 19í General
Marine boat (Ardea). The 1 Ĺ mile trip from Proutís neck to the
island is an open crossing that takes as little as15 minutes.
Stratton Island has the most protected and generally easiest landing
of any SRP island. However, like all Audubon-managed islands access
is dependent on marine conditions. Personal gear, food, water
and supplies are rowed ashore so equipment for staff should be
minimal. Staff are 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, 4-5 interns and volunteers live and work on the island. With the exception of the supervisor; staff and volunteers remain on the island for an average of 1-3 weeks per stint. The camp is located in a mature apple orchard on the southern shore of the island in close proximity to the tern nesting beaches and one of the largest seal haul-out areas in Maine. The base camp is a 12x12 expedition tent on a raised wooden platform. The outdoor kitchen has a propane refrigerator and stove. There are four tent platforms for personal use and a solar shower. A photovoltaic solar system powers research equipment which includes a computer, cell-phone and lights.
Nesting and Migratory Birds: Stratton Island is notable for having the highest diversity of nesting waterbirds of any Maine island. The island provides nesting habitat for several species that are at the northern limit of their range (e.g. Glossy Ibis, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret, Tri-colored Heron, American Oystercatcher and Least Tern. Likewise, several northern species reach the southern limit of their ranges (e.g. Arctic Tern, Black Guillemot and Common Eider). The interior pond and wetland provide breeding habitat for several waterfowl (e.g. Northern Shoveler, Blue-winged Teal and Gadwall) and Sora and Common Moorhen. The islandís beaches provide nesting habitat for Common, Roseate, Arctic and Least Terns.
Migrant songbirds abound in May and a number of Maine rarities have been seen on the island in recent years including Yellow-nosed albatross, Fork-tailed flycatcher and White-winged Tern. Two hundred and forty species have been seen on and around the island. In late July and August large numbers of migrating shorebirds and staging terns roost on Little Stratton. Several hundred harbor seals also haul out in large numbers on Little Stratton.
Island Monitoring, Research and Management Projects: The Stratton Island field season begins in early May and continues through mid-late August. The island supervisor is responsible for coordinating the timing of specific projects and participation by staff and volunteers throughout the field season. Work includes, but is not limited to the following projects; annual tern, eider, cormorant and wading bird census, tern resighting, productivity and chick growth, tern provisioning studies, invasive vegetation management, orienting and educating visitors to the island and wildlife, daily weather and bird lists, migratory shorebird counts and gull and predator management.
here for a PDF map of Stratton Island Bird Habitats
here for a PDF map of Stratton Island
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