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Bird Study

Bird Study, conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, habitat management, Restoring Habitat, Science, shorebird conservation, shorebird ecology, wildlife conservation, wildlife tracking

The 2015 Delaware Bay Shorebird Project Begins!

Our 2015 Delaware Bay Shorebird Project began on one of the hottest early-May weekends in memory. Clive Minton, an English-expatriate Australian, and I began the project with an early morning survey of each bay beach – Reeds, Cooks, Kimbles, Pierces, Rutgers, Norburys, Villas – dripping sweat and swatting biting gnats as though it was early June, not early May. The sudden burst of summer weather warmed the bay waters, triggering our first horseshoe crab spawn providing sufficient eggs for newly arriving birds. The birds, on the other hand, followed a more normal schedule. We counted only 400 knots, a smaller…

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Bird Study, conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, habitat management, Restoring Habitat, Science, shorebird conservation, shorebird ecology, sustainable land use, travel and wildlife, wildlife conservation, wildlife tracking

Shorebirds Arrive on Restored Delaware Bay Beaches

After a week of lovely spring weather, strong westerly winds blowing over a still cold sea reasserted winter’s hold on our beaches. Last week, the machine operators wore short sleeves, today they pulled out the camo down and Carhard woolen caps. I dug out my Patagonia down hoodie. The sea looked angry as wave after wave assaulted our new beach at Fortescue – three days so far. We lost sand but as Steve Hafner says, “it probably stayed in the profile” or within the beaches designed shape. Let’s hope so. The impact of the wind today demonstrates the importance of giving the horseshoe crabs and the birds choices for…

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Bird Study, conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, habitat management, Restoring Habitat, Science, shorebird conservation, shorebird ecology, wildlife conservation, wildlife tracking

New Beaches Are Shared By Fishermen And Shorebirds Alike

Both construction teams work hard to get done as soon as is possible. Both are on track to be done late this week, in good time for the horseshoe crab spawn and shorebird stopover. Last Thursday, the water temperature hovers around 9 degrees C (48 degrees F) which is slightly lower than previous years. The crab spawn is in part triggered by a water temperature of 14-15 degree C (59 degrees F) so the spawn is still a few weeks away. Last year, it began in the first week of May. Getting done on time depends on no emerging problems, and working out…

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Bird Study, conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, habitat management, Restoring Habitat, Science, shorebird conservation, shorebird ecology, wildlife conservation, wildlife tracking

Fortescue and Thompson’s Beach: “It’s all labor”

In the video above, Humphrey Sitters counts 16,000 red knots on Egg Island Point, just east of our new beach. The flock is the largest concentration in the hemisphere. The construction of Fortescue Beach has finally reached that early stage known to most people in construction where they say “it’s all labor”. The early logistical problems have been ironed out and our goal is simple, to get as much sand onto the beach as fast as is possible. On Tuesday and Wednesday, H4 hauled over 4000 tons of sand. The beach gradually takes shape. Boomer Huen and Eric Johnson use…

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Bird Study, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, habitat management, Restoring Habitat, Science, shorebird conservation, shorebird ecology, wildlife conservation, wildlife tracking

Fortescue Beach Takes Form on Delaware Bay

Fortescue beach begins to take form as a constant line of 24 ton trucks deliver sand and H4 operators lift it over the sea wall and onto the intertidal edge of the sea. On Monday, March 23, they hauled 2,000 tons. The benefit of our work became apparent on Tuesday, March 24, as the high tide washed against the derelict bulkheads that once protected this road south out of Fortescue connecting it to Raybin’s Beach. In the clip above Boomer Huen’s bulldozer heroically extends the high tide line out against the Delaware Bay waves lap the new shoreline. When horseshoe…

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Bird Study, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, habitat management, Restoring Habitat, Science, shorebird conservation, shorebird ecology, sustainable land use, wildlife conservation, wildlife tracking

Restoration Continues, Regardless of Snow

Both projects, Thompson’s Beach and South Fortescue Beach continued under a cold and very wet snow storm this past Friday (March 20, 2015). Just the five mile difference made for snowfall on Fortescue, but rain on Thompson’s. With rubble removed in the first section of Fortescue beach, Boomer Huen started building the beach on South Fortescue. With 7 trucks carrying loads of sand from Ricci Brothers Sand Plan, we were able to place over 1,000 yards of sand. The geographical orientation of this new beach will be similar to those on the Cape May peninsula including North and South Reeds Beach….

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Bird Study, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, habitat management, Restoring Habitat, Science, shorebird conservation, shorebird ecology, sustainable land use, wildlife conservation, wildlife tracking

Work at Fortescue Beach Begins

With the help of the New Jersey Division of Land Use Regulation, we were cleared to work on Fortescue Beach last Friday, March 20, 2015. It’s a big project! We will be moving over 40,000 yards of sand, nearly twice as much as was used in 2013 on the five beaches between Reeds Beach to Pierce’s Point. Restoring South Fortescue Beach will be vital to achieving the goals of our project. The most important goal is to remove the threat posed by a rubble strewn shoreline. The rubble served as a stopgap attempt to protect the road that connects Fortescue…

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Bird Study, conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, habitat management, Restoring Habitat, Science, shorebird conservation, shorebird ecology, sustainable land use, wildlife conservation, wildlife tracking

Thompson’s Beach Restoration is Underway

Earlier this month, this season’s restoration work began at Thompson’s Beach. Wickberg Marine restored the road out to the Beach. The road once served the community of Thompson’s Beach, a small bayside enclave of Maurice River Township. After a series of punishing storms, the State DEP and Maurice River Township gained control of the small overwashed beach community and removed the houses. Two years ago, the DEP’s Bureau of Coastal Engineering and NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife removed much of the rubble that residents once used to protect their homes from angry Delaware Bay storms, but left a significant portion…

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Bird Study, Conserving Wildlife, Expeditions and Travels, Science, texas

unraveling the texas knot

Fish killed from a red tide event on Padres Island TX. photo by Barbara KeelerAs David Newstead and I started our week of fieldwork on Padre Island National Seashore, we were hoping for better conditions than the catastrophic fish kill that blanketed Texas beaches last fall. There to trap shorebirds, we mostly spent our time riding the 60 mile long undeveloped beach near Corpus Christi, TX, documenting one of the worse red tide events every to occur on the Gulf Coast. The deadly toxin from the algae bloom, killed fish and birds particularly red knots. At the beginning of our trip, last year we saw a few hundred red knots, by the end of our trip we…

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Bird Study, Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Science

Tierra del Fuego – The Beauty of This Land

After returning from Tierra del Fuego I am often asked the question is it a beautiful place? It’s not an easy question to answer; my response, at least in my head, is to ask what makes a place beautiful? I wonder: must a place have obviously awe-inspiring features like a mighty mountain, or plunging, pristine waterfall to earn our respect? Or can we appreciate land like we do most people, not with a glance but with a relationship? Are there as many scales of beauty for land as there are among people? The part of Tierra del Fuego in which…

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Bird Study, Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Science

Tierra del Fuego – Gale Winds and Shorebirds

Our Seventh Expedition to Tierra del Fuego: 1/20/08 Our Friday morning started by saying goodbye to Sergio and Gabriella, the veterinary students from University of Santo Thomas. Their major professor is Carmen Espoz. Carmen left the night before. We were sorry to see them go; they are hard working intelligent people who are always willing to lend a hand. Now we have a team of 7 people, small but adequate. (Carmen with her daughter Antonia.)   While working on the catch of Magellanic Oystercatchers, Ricardo found a new roost for red knot, the oddest one we had ever encountered. Shorebird…

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Bird Study, Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Science

Tierra del Fuego – Our First Catch of Knots

Our Seventh Expedition to Tierra del Fuego: 1/18/08 Guy Morrison and Ken Ross carried out their recount but found no more knots than on their first aerial count of the bay. They plan to fly a third time to confirm the count but already it seems certain that the red knot population in Bahia Lomas has fallen by a further 30% over the past year. It’s premature to ask why, but along with declines in other wintering areas, it appears that the red knot population may be in greater danger than it was only a year ago. In 2004, a…

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Bird Study, Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Science

Tierra del Fuego is Still Losing Red Knots

Our Seventh Expedition to Tierra del Fuego Humphrey and I left Punta Arenas early to survey the area for red knots along the Strait of Magellan at high tide. We left our comfortable digs at the Hotel Noriega at 7.00 am, leaving the rest of the team to pull together all we would need for the first leg of our three week field trip. Fortunately Jorge Jordan and his staff lent us a hand, gathering equipment left since last year, helping to arrange hard-to-get supplies as well as organizing rooms at the hotel. (Jorge Jordan and Mandy at Jorge’s Hotel…

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Bird Study, Chile, Expeditions and Travels, Science

2008 Expedition to Tierra del Fuego

Our Seventh Expedition to Tierra del Fuego: 1/12/08 Our seventh expedition to Tierra del Fuego began with an early evening arrival at Punta Arenas Airport. This small city has either grown more attractive over the last 7 years or we have gradually awakened to its often subtle qualities. Chile has grown more integrated into the world economic system in the last seven years, even establishing a free trade agreement with the US. There are a few chain stores, but even those give a cosmopolitan feel as they are Chilean or European rather than US. I don’t remember coming across a…

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Australia, Bird Study, Expeditions and Travels, Science, Uncategorized

Australia Road Trip – Cannon Netting Shorebirds

Ghost Crab holes, and the sandy remains of excavation, on 80 Mile Beach Our first catch with cannon nets at 80 Mile Beach, in the late afternoon, gave all of us a real sense of accomplishment. After two days of experimenting with small-mesh nets (setting one high and one low), the team leaders, Clive, Roz and Chris decided to go back to the same method that has proved successful in the past — two large-mesh nets set at the same level of the tide. It was a tough call for several reasons . . . . . The small-mesh net,…

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