Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Where to see Red Knots

Given the species' dramatic population decline, many folks have been asking where to go to see Red Knots. The rufa subspecies has declined roughly 80% in the last 10 years, from over 100,000 to only 14,800 currently wintering in Tierra del Fuego. Although a moratorium on horseshoe crab harvest has been secured in NJ, the subspecies' future is anything but secure.

If you go to see knots PLEASE RESPECT ALL BEACH CLOSURES AND STAY WELL AWAY FROM THE BIRDS. Good views can easily be obtained without disturbing the birds.

At Reed's Beach yesterday afternoon, near low tide, knots were flying by fairly consistently but few were landing on the beach there. This could certainly change if there is significant horseshoe crab spawning in the next couple days.

Many more knots (100's if not 1000)were visible at Norbury's Landing and also Pierce's Point, two sites further south along the bay. Parking is limited and the roads are narrow at these sites, please be sure to respect all speed limits, other drivers, and local residents.

At Nummy Island on Sunday morning, at about mid-tide and falling, 1500 knots were visible from the southern base of the free bridge (the one going from Stone Harbor south onto Nummy), looking east to the mudflats across the channel. Another 500 or so were visible from the north side of the toll bridge to Nummy Island (the one leading from Nummy to North Wildwood), looking across the channel on the inland side. The knots generally fly across the penninsula from the bayshore to Nummy during high tide, feeding and/or roosting there while the habitat on the bay side is flooded.

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