Poplar Island’s Restoration Project “For The Birds” – Part II

I first shared the history, scenery, and some bird photos I took from my two recent visits in Part I of Poplar Island’s restoration project.

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Our tour boat passed these Cormorants ‘covering’ adjacent Jefferson Island, one of two islands created when Poplar Island’s erosion in the late 1800s caused it to split into three islands (the other is Coaches Island).  Jefferson Island was once a hunting retreat playground for presidents and politicians in the 1930-40’s until it burned down in 1946.  The house you see was built in the 1950’s by island’s new owners.  Jefferson Island and Coaches Island are both still privately owned.

As a group, we sighted 60+ bird species August 5th and 36+ bird species September 20th.  I failed to get the last counts.

Each visit on Poplar Island was three hours.  For that short amount of time, I thought the number of species we saw was pretty impressive (although some birders were disappointed with the 36+ count).

So here is my second set of five “lifer” photos I picked up, along with the rest of my bird photos that made this post cut.

Caspian Terns

Caspian Terns – “A Fish Delivery Sequence”

Peregrine Falcon (my 6th added “lifer”)
(who we all watched nervously as it dived into the shorebirds but came up empty)

Glossy Ibis and their rookery

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Blue-winged Teal (my 7th added “lifer”)

Common Gallinule (shot through bus window and my 8th “lifer”)
It was noted there was a family of two parents and four juveniles.

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Great Egret

Our Eastern Willets that breed along the Atlantic Coast have already left for migration to Central and South America.  The Western Willet migrates from the mid-West not only to the Pacific Coast but many migrate here to our Atlantic Coast.  Our sighting of Western Willets was identified and confirmed for Poplar Island.

Western Willets (my 9th added “lifer”)

Little Blue Herons

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Little Blue Heron Rookery

Lesser Yellowlegs (my 10th added “lifer”)

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Western Willet (background) and Lesser Yellowlegs

Poplar Island birding tour dates are announced the beginning of the year via email and made available first come first serve.  Check out their website to obtain more information on those and other group tours and how to get signed up for next year.  The tours are FREE and fill up fast!  If you miss out, asked to be added to the wait list.


I think we can agree, Poplar Island’s restoration project’s success to date is pretty awesome.  It is estimated that in the mid-Chesapeake Bay region, over 10,500 acres of wildlife’s unique habitat have been lost due to erosive forces in the last 150 years.

Great news – This year federal and state officials commenced design and engineering work to begin another dredging material restoration project in 2022 for two more islands just south of Poplar Island in Dorchester County, starting with James Island restoring back to 2,072 acres, and Barren Island back to 72 acres.

The birds are loving and will continue to love their restored Chesapeake Bay island paradises!

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