Sunday, May 5, 2013

Delaware Shores & shorebird Migration

 I am linking up with   Mosaic Monday and Our World Tuesday

 I hope everyone is enjoying Spring, it is a great time of the year to see the migrating birds.  After a spring full moon and the water temp's in the high 50's, the horseshoe crabs make their way out of the Delaware Bay. The arrival of the spawning horseshoe crabs in the Delaware Bay is timed perfectly for the migrating shorebirds.  Last weekend, beside Bombay Hook NWR hubby and I also visited the Delaware beaches hoping to see some of these migrating birds.



Slaughter beach above is one of the stops we made to check out the horseshoe crabs and to look for birds. On the path to the beach we saw a few Tree Swallows and the Purple Martins at their houses. Hubby and I walked up and down the beach turning over any horseshoe crabs that was stranded on its back. We were doing our part in trying to save these declining horseshoe crabs.



Shorebird congregations will feast upon the thousand of horseshoe crab eggs. The birds depend on these eggs to refuel during their spring migration. Saving these horseshoe crabs is important, not only to protect this arthropod species but to prevent the decline of shorebirds like the Red Knots and the Semipalmated Sandpipers. 


The horseshoe crab is like a hotel for living creatures that are attached to the shell of the horseshoe crab. Some of these hitchhikers have no effect on the day to day life of this horseshoe crab, but over time they may degrade the shell.

The male horseshoe crab will hang onto the female as she crawls up the beach laying thousands of eggs in sandy nest. As the female drags the male they in turn fertilize the eggs in each nest as they are pulled over the nest and eggs.

The Horseshoe crab can lay as many as 60,000 to 120,000 tiny green eggs in batches of a few thousand at a time.

For me seeing these gathering of the horseshoe crabs and seeing thousands of shorebirds is an awesome wildlife spectacle. On this day we saw mostly laughing gulls.  I believe the migrating shorebirds are still on their way to the Delaware shore. Hopefully there will be plenty of eggs to help refuel these migrating birds on their journey to their breeding grounds in the Artic.



67 comments:

  1. I enjoyed the photos and info on the horseshoe crabs Eileen. Don't think I've ever seen them but they sure play a part of the eco system at the shore.
    Judith

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  2. really amazing bit of nature! thanks for sharing this educational post!

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  3. I have never even heard of horseshoe crabs. Thanks for showing me these interesting crustaceans. So glad you could help those in your path. Every bit helps. Good to see a bird migration too. Thanks Eileen. this was a spectacular post. Jo

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  4. Such wonderful pictures, relaxing!

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  5. an interesting, informative post eileen!!

    i just love anything shore/beach related. you got some great images!!

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  6. Hallo Eileen!!Wonderful post!I love your walks!I always find new and intresting things to see!!!Like the horseshoe crabs!!I have'nt see them!!Amazing pictures,and very beautiful beach!Thank you for sharing!!Have a lovely week!
    Dimi..

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  7. Great photos, Eileen, Horseshoe crabs are such cool looking animals!

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  8. Interesting and informative Eileen . . . plus great pictures of the Horseshoe Crab and shoreline.

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  9. Hello Eileen, WOW I really enjoyed reading about the Horseshoe Crabs and the migration birds.. Such very lovely photos.. Thanks for sharing. Hugs Judy

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  10. What an amazing cycle of life. Great post Eileen. I think we will miss it this time round but hopefully next year. Thanks again for introducing us to Bombay Hook and the beaches at Delaware, and have a great week.

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  11. Wow, I didn't know all that about the horseshoe crab! So fascinating. Your pictures are fantastic as well, thanks so much for sharing :)

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  12. I've never seen a horseshoe crab in person, but I've always thought they were so cool looking! Love your photos!

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  13. Fascinating photos and information! :) And I especially love that photo of the fence stretching off to the shore...so pretty and restful :)

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  14. I wish the migrators a great trip. Such a beautiful time of year to visit the beach. Thanks for taking us with you.

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  15. Fantastic shore life photography ~ Wow!

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  16. thanks for the lesson. i loved this post. so informative. always enjoy a beachy view. ( :

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  17. Wow ... wonderful educational post today, Eileen. I definitely learned something new.
    The photos are great and I love your new header. :)

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  18. What a great post showing some of the cycle of life - we are all so interdependent.

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  19. Hi Eileen, I absolutely love your photos! Thank you so much for such a beautiful and refreshing tour.

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  20. It's always so much fun to see what's showing up on your coastline. We were on the Gulf Coast today and saw lots of birds and even a crab! Enjoy your evening my friend!

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  21. A wonderful post and most informative. Your pictures as always are beautiful! Thank you!! Cathy

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  22. A great series of captures Eileen and information about these fascinating creatures. Thanks for sharing and for stopping by my blog again. Happy week to you

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  23. HI Eileen..Very good info and great shot's to go along with it!!
    Love the color of the sand and skies in these photos, with those lines of turtles and shore birds at the waters edge!!
    Grace

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  24. The horseshoe crabs are such mysterious creatures, and you've taken great narrative images. I hope people are able to respect them as they complete their life cycle.

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  25. Wow this nature story about the crabs are so interesting and sad! With so many birds around, they seem to be outnumbered.

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  26. Wonderful images from the shore. I love those birds.

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  27. That was very interesting, Eileen. I didn't know that about the crabs' eggs and the migrating birds. You did your part to ensure that this relationship will go on!

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  28. I loved reading your post Eileen. The shots of the horseshoe crabs are fantastic and I've learned a lot too. Have a great week. Chel

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  29. Nice place and interesting pictures.. Kind regards..

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  30. A friend of mine bands some of the birds that feed on the crab eggs - so if you see a rather round English gent - probably wearing shorts that have seen much, much better days - say hello, he may know me!

    Getting rid of most of my paper books is not an option in my heart!!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  31. It's so interesting how nature works together for survival. And incredibly amazing how many eggs the horseshoe crab can produce! Love your shots of the ocean and beach. What a great trip!

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  32. Such and interesting post, Eileen. Gorgeous images, as always.

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  33. Dearest Eileen,
    Wow, horseshoe crabs pictures are so amazing♡♡♡ We call them "兜ガニ" literally means "samurai's helmet crab", funny isn't it p;)

    So sorry for my absence lately, I think I will have more free time, hopefully.


    Sending you lots of love and hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

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  34. I have never seen horseshoe crabs on our beach.

    Right now we are experiencing a spate of dead birds on the beach. The rangers tell us it is just nature.

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  35. Thank-you for your enlightenning post.I`ve often wondered about the empty shells I`ve seen.I didn`t know that turtles,when they get on their backs,cannot flip themseleves over either.phyllis

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  36. oh amazing! I have never seen a horseshoe crab. So thankyou. Isn't it amazing that birds and animals time their migrations around events - their inbuilt timeline is amazing.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today Eileen. Glad you enjoyed my post. Have a great week.

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  37. Lovely pictures. I love the information you've shared about how these creatures depend on each other.

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  38. Wonderful collection of photos - so much happening around the shore all the time. Have a great day!

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  39. Eileen,
    What a marvelous and interesting post-I feel as though I was with you on your walk! Thank you so much!
    Jemma

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  40. Thanks for the info of horseshoe crabs, I didn't know that.

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  41. those crabs are strange creaturs. It is nice to see they thrive.
    I forgot, I think you asked me how many species I saw in Morocco. I have no clue yet. The goups total was 170 species. For me? I have no clue, maybe half of it. I will know when I finished the Moroccan blog. :)

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  42. A really informative post. Those crabs look quite large from the photos. I've never seen them before.

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  43. Never seen these type of crabs before Eileen, a very informative post and great pics.

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  44. Great series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  45. It is a never ending seesaw of life on the beach with each specie trying to fulfill their purpose. Valerie

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  46. I am thinking about going to Chestertown this weekend. Daughter celebrating her 50th and is depressed. Thought I would go and perk her up. Am wondering how the wildlife refuge would be now at Rock Hall. Hope the weather clears up. Your pictures really make me want to get to the shore. They are all so pretty. A very interesting post. genie

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  47. wow incredible bird sightings and overall nature tripping. love this poost.

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  48. I remember being scared of stepping on a horseshoe crab growing up on Long Island. Great series, and some great memories of my youth. We don't have horseshoe crabs where I live now!

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  49. Never seen something like this. incredible captures.

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  50. Great photos of the horseshoe crab. I've seen them here along the beach. Unfortunately their usually on their backs. I enjoyed your post.

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  51. Great post.Interesting information about the horseshoe crab.

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  52. Hearing about horseshoe crabs for the first time, its such a unique creature... Thanks for sharing...

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  53. Thanks for this fascinating look at life on the beach.
    Have a wonderful day!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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  54. I love this beautiful sequence of photos of the beach and the strange crabs!

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  55. Tihs is all very interesting! Thank you for sharing this happening! I have never seen horseshoe crabs, so I learnt something new from you again, Eileen!

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  56. Hello Eileen!
    What an incredible sight this is.
    I just saw a fascinating footage on TV about them, and in Delaware more precisely!
    I feel sorry for theses creatures: the mating season is so dangerous and yet they manage to reproduce.
    Although their numbers are declining, it seems that people are more aware and prepared to follow the species carefully in order to help them.
    Brilliant and very actual post!
    Cheers!

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  57. Hi! Very beautiful captures. Your photos are very interesting for me.
    Mother nature is truely wonderful.

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  58. That was so interesting. I have never actually seen a Horseshoe Crab. The environment is such a delicate balance.

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  59. Wow- those are great pics and very interesting. I don't think I have ever heard of this crab before.

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  60. I was happy to learn of the horseshoe crab, of which I knew absolutely nothing. Nice pictures and info.

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  61. Hi Eileen, I enjoyed this post a lot. It's the first time I heard of the horseshoe crabs. They pretty interesting creatures. It's amazing how other cratures are depedent on them for food and home. I hope I can walk this shoreline and see for myself the this beautiful play of nature. Lovely photos, by the way.

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  62. Yet another reason I love blogging! Such an educational and interesting post, Eileen. And an enjoyable way to learn about another part of the world. This is my favorite kind of post--some great photos and a bit of narrative about what we're seeing.

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  63. Thank you Eileen for an informative post. And the pics are really cool. I've only seen these crabs a couple times in my life. They are such an amazing crab. But I wear water shoes because of them:) Stepping on them is not advisable:)

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  64. Thanks for sharing your day at the beach, and I definitely feel I learned something new today.
    Thanks for stopping by.

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  65. wow Eileen! This post was exciting. I've actually never seen one like that before. I actually had to google it to read more, was quite curious :)))

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Have a happy day, Eileen

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