Upper Fish Bladder Island – Lake Champlain Islands
Upper Fish Bladder Island is a very small island just east of South Hero, Vermont; it is sometimes connected to Fish Bladder Island when there are low-water conditions. The wooded, undeveloped island is owned and maintained by the Green Mountain Audubon Society as a bird sanctuary.
Upper Fish Bladder serves as an important bird nesting site and staging area for the Herring Gull, Great Blue Heron, and potentially the Common Tern.
Upper Fish Bladder Island was donated to the Lake Champlain Land Trust by the late Mary Haas-Burak in 2000. The Lake Champlain Land Trust accepted Upper Fish Bladder thanks to the generosity of the landowner.
The Lake Champlain Land Trust later donated three islands, including Upper Fish Bladder Island, to the Green Mountain Audubon Society. This island is now managed by the Green Mountain Audubon Society, with the conservation easement still held by the Land Trust.
Fish Bladder Island is a privately owned 11.6-Acre Island in Lake Champlain located just minutes off the causeway to the Champlain Islands – just east of South Hero, Vermont and just north of Cedar Island.
Fish Bladder Island features gently rolling terrain, a beach, and protected coves for docking. The island features a newly constructed residence with boat storage area on the lower level and another two bedroom guest house.
In times of low water Fish Bladder is connected by a sand bridge to Upper Fishbladder Island to the north. Upper Fishbladder is owned and managed by the Green Mountain Audubon Society as a bird sanctuary.
In October 2007 a wind-whipped fire destroyed an Adirondack style camp on the island. Firefighters had to be ferried to the island from South Hero, VT to fight the blaze.
Cloak Island is a small island in Grand Isle County, Vermont. Cloak Island is located off the south-east coast of Isle LaMotte, Vermont at latitude: 44°50’7.15″, longitude: -73°19’45.48″. It is near Reynolds Point and The Head on Isle LaMotte. It is about 7 1/2 acres in area.
There is an interesting legend about how the island got its name. As the story goes, in the 1770’s when Eleanor Fisk, of nearby Isle LaMotte got tired of her husband’s abuse, she hitched up her team of horses and set out across frozen Lake Champlain towards Alburgh, but was never seen again. Later, her red cloak was found along the bushes and rocks of the island, which would forever be known as Cloak Island.
Another variation of the story tells that after Eleanor Fisk went missing, concerned neighbors suspected she had drowned, but wanted proof. They gathered at the lake and dropped her red cloak into the water. According to an old Yankee superstition: to find the missing body of a drowning victim, you must drop a cloak belonging to the missing victim into the water, and it would come to rest over the body. The cloak eventually found its way over to the small island and got tangled on the beach, thus giving Isle LaMotte’s tiny neighbor it’s new name – Cloak Island.
Eleanor’s body was never found, and some say her ghost still walks the shores of Cloak Island. A fitting, spooky end to this sad story from America’s colonial era, but hardly the only such ghost story from the area.
Southeast view over the Four Brothers Islands on Lake Champlain with Shelburne Point, VT in background
The Four Brothers Islands is a cluster of islands in Lake Champlain just west of the Vermont border in a line between Willsboro Point, New York, and Shelburne Point, Vermont. The four islands are within several hundred feet of each other and total about 17 acres; they are individually identified as A, B, C and D.
Four Brothers High Peaks Audubon operates the Four Brothers Islands Preserve which is owned by the Nature Conservancy and managed by the High Peaks Chapter.
The primary features of the islands are their use as rookeries for double-crested cormorants, great blue herons, great and cattle egrets, black-crowned night-herons, glossy ibises, and ring-billed, herring, and great black-backed gulls, as well as a variety of geese and ducks.
East view of Four Brothers
Originally named the Isles of the Four Winds by Samuel de Champlain. The Four Brothers Islands have always been a haven for shore birds and waterfowl, most recently cormorants. Now they’re an Audubon Society wildlife preserve. You must have a permit and be accompanied by a warden to land on the islands.
Gunboat Island, also known as Garden Island, is part of the Lake Champlain Islands Management Complex (LCIMC). The island is located just south of Valcour Island in the Town of Peru, NY. Gunboat Island juts sharply out of the water with 15 to 20 foot bare limestone cliffs and has no recreational facilities. At less than 1 acre in size, it is one of the smallest of Lake Champlain’s islands.
Gunboat Island was known as Petite Isle at the time of the Revolutionary War. British ships had to sail around Gunboat Island to attack the American fleet commanded by Benedict Arnold.
Legend has it that the British fleet mistook the island for one of Arnold’s gunboats and opened fire on the island. This mistaking of the island for a gunboat is how the island got its name. This story is very similar to reports of British bombardment of Carleton’s Prize in Vermont.
SUNY Plattsburgh maintains a data buoy southeast of Valcour/Garden Islands in Lake Champlain. The buoy collects information on surface weather and lake water temperatures (from the surface to a depth of 50m). Data is provided here for general use, but attribution to SUNY Plattsburgh and our funding agencies is requested for any further distribution. Support for the data buoy comes from NOAA Lake Champlain Sea Grant, the Lake Champlain Research Consortium, and SUNY Plattsburgh (Center for Earth and Environmental Science and Lake Champlain Research Institute).