Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Scenes from Delaware Bay

[Male Horseshoe Crabs fighting over females at Cook's Beach. Photos by Tom Reed]

I took these pictures at Cook's Beach a few nights ago, where there were several hundred Horseshoe Crabs arriving on the beach with the high tide, and a couple thousand shorebirds actively feeding on the beach (consisting primarily of Semipalmated Sandpipers and Sanderlings). I saw just 9 Red Knots during the entire 45 minutes I spent watching, and it seems many had already departed.

Quite a few shorebirds seemed to be booking it for points north, as there were numerous flocks of varying sizes flying from the beach, gaining altitude, transforming into specks, and flying due north- a neat thing to see. Diamondback Terrapins were also relatively numerous, and I counted at least two dozen small, green heads bobbing in the water. Female terrapins are seeking dunes and marsh edges to lay eggs right now, which unfortunately results in many being forced to cross roadways to find suitable sites. Keep an eye out for asphalt-crossing turtles.

[Pictured below, top to bottom:
1) Sanderling
2) Semipalmated Sandpipers
3) Ruddy Turnstones with Forster's Tern]
Photos by Tom Reed

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