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!


Previous post –>  Poplar Island’s Restoration Project “For The Birds” – Part I



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

  1. How very uplifting it is to hear about the restoration projects, Donna. I so enjoyed hearing about your birding day at Poplar Island, and your photos are beautiful. The nice thing about bird groups is that bird ID is instantly confirmed, especially with tricky shorebirds and little blue herons. When I saw that first photo with all those cormorants I gasped. Great post, thanks for sharing this great adventure with us.

    • Thank you, Jet, we all need some uplifting these days, even with wildlife. I’ve never toured with birders before, I’m a go-alone kinda gal, so it was a good for me to be with a group and experience the shout-outs of birds that I am sure I would have other-wised missed. I was happy-dancing after both trips getting 10 more lifers! 😊

  2. How fortunate you are to have the islands near. I wish I had them near me too. It’s a fantastic gallery of beauties, Donna. 🙂

    • Thank you, HJ! We’ve been boating around Poplar Island since before its start of restoration, when it was just a bit of land and lots of shallow water. To watch it ‘regrow’ year after year while boating by has been pretty cool to watch. 🙂

  3. What a wonderful place to visit Donna, and some interesting species we never see here, plus lifers for you. I have not seen a Glossy Ibis in the wild for several years now . This project to recreate habitat is good news. Your Gallinule is very similar and same specie to our Australian Swamphen or previously Purple Swamphen.

    • Thank you, Ashley, it was an enriching, rewarding experience for me and most definitely a win for wildlife. For years, I’ve had our Purple Gallinule on my lifer list from visiting Florida, yet couldn’t capture our local Common Gallinule until now finally. That’s how it goes, huh?! lol 😉

  4. Hey Donna. I see your Peregrine Falcon now. Awesome in flight! I thought they like being near cliffs but I guess they like islands too? There is a popular peregrine couple that makes a nest on the side of a building, overlooking Central Park. The building is their “cliff”. Wonderful bird tour, Donna 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼❗️

    • Thanks, Al! I told you ‘my’ Peregrine Falcon shot wasn’t near as nice as yours. 😉 I think ‘mine’ was looking for lunch on the island, we watched him dive a couple times. There was a Peregrine Falcon nest on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge for several years, and we have a webcam on one on the Transamerica Bldg in Baltimore that I’ve watched periodically. 🙂 A very pretty and fierce falcon!

  5. Your bird ID skills are utterly impressive! I’m so glad you had this opportunity to capture more images and lifers. I’m even more impressed with the efforts to establish this refuge for the birds.

    • If it weren’t for the pro-birders on the trip, I’d have not seen or been able to ID all that was there. So that was a big plus for me…..although I do like going alone on my ventures. 😉 I felt super lucky to get to go twice for sure!!

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