Long Island Sound is a special body of water. The estuary that forms the southern border of Connecticut, the northern border of Long Island (N.Y.), ends up at the East River in NYC to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, is a vital habitat for birds and other wildlife.
I have lived in three cities that border Long Island Sound and have spent countless hours birding the coast and open waters. Each December, I participate in a Christmas Bird Count whose territory includes Long Island Sound. The birdlife is varied and thrilling at all times of the year. The fascinating summer birds are replaced by amazing winter birds.
According to the 2019 State of the Birds report released last week, the Sound is as clean and vibrant as it has been in years. However, it also faces an uncertain future as climate change and rising sea levels threaten to drastically alter its landscape. According to the report, the Sound and its wildlife have already been impacted by changes in climate.
The thoroughly researched and well-written State of the Birds report is issued each year by the Connecticut Audubon Society (@CTAudubon). It includes articles by experts from many other state conservation organizations. When I was a newspaperman, I made it a point to attend the annual release event, at which many of the Report’s authors were present. I still look forward to its release each year.
The press release that summarizes the findings may be found here. The full report will be available via PDF on January 1.
To honor the Sound and, hopefully, draw a little more awareness to the Report and its findings, I will post each day this week a photo I have taken at the Sound over the years.
“The Wisconsin Ice Sheet, the last of many glacial advances that grew after the start of the Pleistocene Era about 1.5 million years ago and which stretched down from eastern Canada (Labrador), advanced as far south as New York City. The Wisconsin Ice Sheet left its marks on the city, depositing rock and debris and accounting for the hilly areas that run straight through the middle of the five boroughs. Geologists believe that the Wisconsin Ice Sheet began its southward journey from Labrador about 90,000 years ago and reached its maximum about 70,000 years ago, forming the Ronkonkoma Moraine on Long Island. During a period of warmth and retreat, it advanced again starting about 45,000 years ago, reaching New York City about 20,500 ago, forming the Harbor Hill Moraine and beginning its retreat about 18,000 years ago.
In New York City, the Wisconsin Ice Sheet was 1,000 feet thick (in the Adirondacks it was over 5,000 feet thick and perhaps as much as 10,000 feet thick in Labrador). The Wisconsin Ice Sheet had an impact not only on New York City but also farther north, deepening the bed of the Hudson River Valley (the Hudson River is the southernmost glacial fjord in the Northern Hemisphere), carving out the Great Lakes and the Finger Lakes basins, and leaving its mark on the Adirondack mountains. The glacier also deepened valleys beneath Webster Avenue in the Bronx, and the Harlem and East Rivers. It smoothed the bedrock and left glacial grooves and striations as the advancing glacier dragged rocks over the surface.”
Note: the cooling and warming that were associated with these ice ages was not man made. Demonstrating that the climate will change in large degree without a change in Tax Policy.
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