Greenwich Land Trust Guides Kayak Tour

Greenwich Land Trust photo.
Greenwich Land Trust photo.

The Greenwich Land Trust held a guided tour of Shell Island and Calf Island, hosted by the Calf Island Conservancy, on Saturday beginning at Byram Beach.

The seventh annual kayak journey began with listening to a brief overview of the Long Island Sound with a Naturalist explaining how the formations of islands came to be.

“We give people the opportunity to go out and see both Shell Island and Calf Island, which is owned by the National Wildlife Refuge,” said Ginny Gwynn, the executive director of the Greenwich Land Trust. “Both islands are protected for the long term and this is an opportunity for people to get out and learn a little bit about the islands.”

Ginny Gwynn stressed how important it is to protect the Long Island Sound and the wildlife that exists there.

“We usually see some osprey which are also known as sea eagles. They nest on the island and we often see them swoop down and pick up a fish for their young osprey or sometimes to eat it for themselves. We’ll certainly see a lot of shellfish, there are some turtles that live in the Sound and we might see some horseshoe crabs coming up on the island.”

Kayakers also paddled south from Byram Beach to Shell Island, a five-acre property owned by the Trust, to learn more about the island’s wildlife and history.

“22,000 years ago during the ice age, a giant glacier called ‘The Wisconsin Glacier’ moved from the north down through what is now the Laurentian Mountains in Canada and continued all the way down to where we are,” said Susie Baker, a retired oceanography teacher and the group’s first guide of the day. “As it moved, it picked up all kinds of giant boulders as well as smaller rocks and grounded down other bits of rock.”

“When it stopped, 22,000 years ago, it receded a little bit and began to melt. It had dumped before it a giant amount of rock.”

The bundles of rocks are now the start of the Greenwich Islands, the Norwalk Islands, the Thimble Islands and the Elizabeth Islands.

Baker called the Sound a “brackish water body” because it’s surrounded by land, and with a salinity less than the ocean.

When the group got to Calf Island, a naturalist from the CIC spoke to them about their active bird protection programs.

“We usually have a good crowd and some people have never been out on the Sound before so it’s a first-time experience,” said Gwynn. “Others are veterans and could probably teach us a lot about it too.”

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