River Otter Survey Report

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In April, we wrote about Mike Bottini’s river otter survey on fishers Island. A Conservancy grant funded the survey of river otters on Fishers Island, which included FI School 9th graders and members of the Island community.

Shortly following board approval of their proposal, Mike Bottini and a team of three other wildlife biologists visited Fishers and conducted a successful survey, determining the presence of established river otter territories on Fishers Island. They surveyed 40-50 sites on the island by foot and kayak and found otter sign at 20, including an otter den (pictured below)! The research team presented to the Senior Lunch and gained critical information from island residents Steve Malinowski, Lou Horn and Ken Edwards, Bob Evans and Pierce Rafferty. They were accompanied and assisted by FI school 9th graders in some of their survey work. Mike Bottini will return to the Island in July to provide educational programming to FI residents regarding the research and the broader implications for wildlife on Fishers Island.

The team was fascinated by Fishers’ natural environment, including our coyote population. The researchers were thrilled to make their first osprey sighting in 2013, and to see a great-horned owl feeding its chicks on an osprey nest at the east end. To quote team lead, Mike Bottini: “Fishers Island is an amazing place, both the landscape and the folks living there. Although geologically so similar to eastern Long Island, in some ways it is very different. You have some of the largest swamp azaleas I have ever seen, and stands of yellow birch in some of your forests – a species that we don’t have on eastern Long Island. We have some fairly deep and dramatic kettleholes here, but I have never seen anything as striking as the clay pit kettleholes near Isabella Beach…”

Mike’s report is complete and available at the below link.