Monthly Archives

May 2011

shorebird ecology, sustainable land use

Protection only partly done

Mark Peck of Royal Ontario Museum scans shorebirds on the Delaware BayshoreA few days ago Mark Peck and I did a shorebird survey by boat that took us to all the nooks and crannies of NJ’s Delaware Bayshore. Leaving Smokey’s Marina at Reed’s Beach, we took our 16 ft Carolina Skiff all the way to Gandys Beach on the upper Bay.   It was a stunning journey .  One can’t help but admire the results of decades of conservation that led to this mostly protected and wild shoreline.   A map of the Delaware Bayshore showing the vast tidal and non…

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shorebird ecology

what we still don’t know

Our work here on Delaware Bay has gone into hyper drive.  Surveys nearly everyday just after dawn, then trapping  and scanning the rest of the day.  As with all other years, Mandy and I are indebted to the volunteers that have come to the bay from nearby and those from South America, Australia, Great Britain.  This year we even had a volunteer from Kenya, Chege Wa KariukiPart of our banding team having dinner The knots have voted with their wings throughout the month.  First in New Jersey, then to Delaware, then back again all in the search of the best…

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shorebird ecology, wildlife conservation

new season on Delaware Bay

Curlew Sandpipers have been the great attraction of the Heislerville Impoundments but they are of great value to marsh shorebirds as a roosting area at high tide. Photo by D WelchThe red knots of Delaware Bay have returned and with them the NJ shorebird banding team.  Over the last few days, we and the DE team have counted about 3,500 knot, mostly in Delaware’s Mispillion Harbor, but about 500 in the Reeds Beach area.   We estimate only a small number of ruddy turnstones and sanderlings in the bay but NJ Audubon’s David Mizrahi reports nearly 25,000 semipalmated sandpipers and semipalmated…

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Starting a new dialogue on shorebird conservation- come to our celebration on May 9th

Mean horseshoe crab densities in Delaware bay from 2006 to 2010. The Delaware data excludes Mispillion Harbor which had far higher densities but also showed no increase.This January, we learned that a whole suite of artic-nesting shorebirds have plummeted in numbers including red knots, semipalmated sandpipers, ruddy turnstones and lesser yellowlegs.  The magnitude of this problem is still unknown, but real declines of 35 to 90% have been documented.  The reasons are unclear but we know Delaware Bay stopover, the lynchpin place where many shorebirds prepare themselves for breeding, is still in the same miserable condition it was 10 years…

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