- This report presents results of a study conducted by New Jersey Audubon Society, for Rhode Island's Ocean Strategic Area Management Plan (Ocean SAMP) to assess flight dynamics and movement patterns of aerial vertebrates on Block Island and it nearshore waters. Specifically, our objectives were to (1) estimate daily, nightly and seasonal movement patterns of aerial vertebrates (i.e., birds, bats) traversing Block Island and its coastal waters, (2) estimate altitudinal distributions of bird/bat movements and determine what proportions occur at altitudes deemed a "risk" for collisions with wind turbines (3) determine flight directions and pathways of bird/bat "targets" in the study area and (4) investigate how meteorological conditions affect flight dynamics and behavior.
- The study was conducted from 19 March – 15 December 2009 using a dual marine radar system. Radar technology can provide information about movement patterns of aerial vertebrates that otherwise could not be acquired (e.g., monitoring of high flying and distant individuals, monitoring at night, accurate estimates of flight altitude). The radar system was located at the southern end of Block Island from 19 March – 30 April and then moved to the northern end of the island, where it remained until the study was completed. The radars sampled the air space out to one nautical mile in horizontal range and vertical range. During the last nine weeks of the study (8 October – 15 December) we used a parabolic dish antenna on the horizontally-oriented radar to reduce backscatter of electromagnetic energy from the ocean surface.