*Text taken from the online "Draft
Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact
Statement," dated April 2004, of the Petit Manan
National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
The 11.2-acre Ship Island was acquired in fee simple from
The Nature Conservancy in 1994. It is located in the Town of
Tremont, Hancock County. The adjacent Trumpet Island is accessible
at low tide by an intertidal bar. The majority of the vegetation
on Ship Island is dominated by grasses and ericaceous shrubs,
including rugosa rose, raspberry, elder, and Angelica. A small
stand of black cherry is located on the northern end of the
island. The western shore of the islands is comprised of an
extensive sandy beach, while the remainder of the island is
surrounded with cobble.
Common tern eggs. Predators have
made it difficult for the terns to re-establish a colony
on Ship Island.
Historically, Ship Island supported over 300 common tern nests,
while an additional 500 pairs nested on Trumpet Island. However,
by the 1930's gulls had eliminated all nesting by terns. In
1993, a tern restoration project was initiated on these islands
through a cooperative agreement with The Nature Conservancy.
Gull control was initiated and continued through 1995. After
more than a 50-year absence, terns returned to Ship Island
in 1995 with a single nesting pair of common
terns. The colony continued to grow and in 1999, 558 pairs of common terns nested.
The colony completely abandoned the island during the 2000 nesting season, presumably
due to mammalian predators. During the 2001 season, 261 pairs of terns established
nests, but abandoned the island after a mink arrived on the island. Terns attempted
to nest on the island during the 2002 season, but once again abandoned the island
early in the nesting season. All efforts to trap predators have been unsuccessful.
Refuge biological technicians staff Ship Island, conducting
biological surveys on the tern colony (food and productivity
studies), predator control and banding. Vegetation management
to improve and maintain tern nesting habitat is on-going using
vegetation mats and mechanical disturbance.
Also of note is
the fact that an avian cholera epidemic in the early 1980's
significantly reduced the common eider population on Ship
Island. The island is closed to public access during the seabird
nesting season: April 1 to August 31.
The island has informational
signs alerting visitors to this closure.
The island is
open to migratory waterfowl hunting under State and Refuge