L to R: Matthew D. Schlesinger, Chief Zoologist, Richard M. Ring, Chief Botanist, Gregory J. Edinger, Chief Ecologist
Given the detailed ornithological lists that have been compiled on Fishers Island over the decades, birds were not a formal focus of this study; however, rare birds that the scientists saw in the field were included in the report. The zoologists actively searched for turtles on Land Trust properties, and found three species: the painted turtle, the common snapping turtle, and the spotted turtle. The latter, last recorded alive on Fishers Island in the 1990s, is a species of concern, so it was exciting to discover juvenile spotted turtles on Fishers Island, an indication that we still have a breeding population.
Bumble bees, butterflies, moths, and dragonflies were also sampled. They documented five species of bumble bee, an important pollinator, and the ecologists believe that Fishers Island is an important breeding spot for the eastern migratory population of Monarch butterflies. The Red-banded Hairstreak, another butterfly they observed, appears to be expanding its range northward. The scientists documented two rare dragonfly species: the Seaside Dragonlet and the Rambur’s Forktail. Remarkably, 393 unique taxa of moths were identified in this study, although several expected species were not found. Of the observed species, three were documented in New York for the first time and five for the first time on Long Island. In total, 27 rare moth species were observed.
Overall, this report provides a wealth of information to the Land Trust and the community about the biodiversity and ecology of Fishers Island, including the critical role the Island plays in providing habitat for rare and diverse species.
The primary authors of this report are Matthew D. Schlesinger, Chief Zoologist (pictured at left above), Richard M. Ring, Chief Botanist (pictured at center above), Gregory J. Edinger, Chief Ecologist (pictured at right above), Ashley M. Ballou, Zoologist, Katie G. Hietala-Henschell, Zoologist, Meaghan A. McCormack, Marine Zoologist, John P. Vanek, Zoologist, Erin L. White, Zoologist and Project Coordinator, and Stephen M. Young, Former Chief Botanist. Printed copies of the primary report are scheduled to be available for distribution at the July 30 presentation. Appendices will be distributed as attached pdfs upon request.