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8. Sheffield Island

At 53 acres, Sheffield Island is the second largest island located off the coast of Norwalk and the most southerly.  It is located about 1,500 yards from the Norwalk coast and just southwest of Shea Island. The entire shoreline is strewn with rocks and boulders. As part of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service controls the island except for the 3.5-acre parcel occupied by the Sheffield Island Lighthouse and grounds owned by the Norwalk Seaport Association.

Sheffield is also one of the best places to see seals. The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk organizes boat trips circling the islands, including a cruise to see the fall foliage and a winter cruise to see harbor seals and waterfowl. The Norwalk Seaport Association offers boat cruises and lighthouse tours to the island from the end of May through mid.- September annually.  The Association also offers special events, Thursday night clambakes in season on the island and bird watching tours.  For more information on the programs offered by the Norwalk Seaport Association visit http://www.seaport.org.

Sheffield Island supports a variety of bird species and has considerable nesting potential for osprey, herons and other migratory birds. To protect these birds, Sheffield Island is seasonally closed to public access each year. The refuge also provides important resting, feeding, and nesting habitat for many species of wading birds, shorebirds, songbirds and terns, including the endangered roseate tern. Adjacent waters serve as wintering habitat for brant, scoters, black duck and other waterfowl.

Sheffield Island offers visitors two special experiences. A climb up the stairs of the island's stone mid.-Victorian styled lighthouse  built in 1868 will reward you with exceptional views in all four directions including the Manhattan skyline.  Afterward, take a hike along the trail in the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge.  The trail leads you to an observation platform where you will have a bird's eye view of wildlife that makes Sheffield Island their home. There are also ruins of a mansion once located on the island to explore.