Thursday, May 27, 2010

Delaware Bay Shorebird Counts & Chicks at the Meadows

The following aerial survey data are courtesy Larissa Smith of Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ, and Bill Pitts of the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, Endangered and Nongame Species Program. Remember, most Delaware Bay Beaches are closed to foot traffic, but the well known sites like Reed's Beach, Cook's Beach, Kimble's Beach, and Norbury's Landing still offer excellent viewing.

Red Knot totals:
5-14 — 3,788 (1,338 NJ & 2,450 DE)
5-19 — 8,090 (6,540 NJ & 1,550 DE)
5-25 — 14,475 (8,945 NJ & 5,530 DE)

New Jersey continues to be hot between Highs Beach to Bidwell Creek and from Egg Island to Beadon's Cove. Delaware is more dispersed and less predictable. First flight saw good numbers at Pickering and Mispillion, the second flight had a few hundred at Pickering, Mispillion and Fowler Beach, and the last flight had about 1,000 between Kitts Hummock to Bennetts Pier, a little under 3,000 at Mispillion, and over 1,000 between Fowler Beach and Primehook.

Ruddy Turnstone totals:
5-14 — 7.530 (3,325 NJ & 4,205 DE)
5-19 — 14,939 (6,718 NJ & 8,221 DE)
5-25 — 13,974 (6,618 NJ & 7,356 DE)

Turnstones are generally more dispersed on both coasts. In NJ large numbers were counted at East Point, Money Island, and Bay Point roosting on piers on 5-14 & 5-19, but they were more widely scattered on 5-25 due to us flying so long after high tide. In DE, around Port Mahon and Mispillion have seen good numbers on all flights. Otherwise, turnstones number in tens or hundreds down much on the DE coastline. Interestingly, almost 1,000 were counted at Fraland Beach on the last flight.

Mark Garland tells me his elderhostel program enjoyed American Oystercatcher chicks at the meadows, as well as the Piping Plover chicks that have been present for several days.