May 2006

Survey wk 4: GBB Tu, May 23rd, 2006

On Tu, May 23rd I was @ GBB WMA from 3:25pm until about 7:45pm. I did my survey to coordinate with the Fish and Wildlife agencies' Atlantic Coast aerial surveys (May 23 & 24 from Florida to Massachusetts) for Red Knots. Check my 5-23-06 blog entry for my Red Knot info.

The afternoon & early evening was mostly sunny and warm. Winds were strong for most of the time and from the W-NW. Little Sheepshead Creek HT 5:27am & 6:04pm, LT 12:03pm. Shooting Thorofare HT 5:13am & 5:50pm, LT 11:41am.

Side Note: Photo below is a SBD I found just standing in the road, not moving. As I approached it was a bit disheveled and stunned. I stayed with the SBD until it came to her/his senses and I ushered it across the road to the grass & then off she/he swam into the water. More photos of the SBD in the album (link below) & a video to be posted at a later date.


Tuesday's survey consisted of 9 stops along GBB & the birds consisted of Red Knots, Dunlin, SBD's, BBP's, Least Sndprs, SPS's, SPP's, a distant YL, 2 AO's at the SE end of GBB as always, Ruddy T's, Spotted Sndprs & a Black Skimmer.
The Larger groupings consisted of:
- The Red Knots were a group of 18
- A mixed group of Dunlin, SBD's & BBP's = 365
- A mixed group of Ruddy T's, SPP, SPS, LS, SBD & 1 Spotted S. = 69
(40 of which were group of Ruddy T's, largest group of RT's that I have seen out @ GBB)
- A mixed group of Duns (31), SBD (27), SPS (1), LS (2) & a Spotted S
- A group with 1 SBD, Dunlin (20) & SPS (11)
- & 1 last group of 22 SBD

May 23rd GBB Photo Album

Red Knot Photo Album separate)

NJ F & W / ENSP Spring 2006 Conserve Wildlife Newsletter Online

The link below will take you to their Spring 2006 Conserve Wildlife Newsletter in PDF format. Pages 3 & 4 are of particular interest to the shorebird community.
Spring 2006 Conserve Wildlife Newsletter (PDF)
Conserve Wildlife home page

Red Knots @ Great Bay Blvd. WMA today!

From 4:15pm until 5:15pm (HT for Shooting Thorofare was 5:50pm) I spent my time at the beach that looks out on Shooting Thorofare at the end of GBB WMA, as well as out in the marshes. I was scanning the marsh to water edges with my binoculars, came across an AO pair of which I have seen every time out there. They can always be seen when you look to the east. The next thing I came across was a bunch of red heads & breasts peeking up from the bank. I set up my scope and sure enough it was a group of 18 Red Knots. They were joined by 1 Ruddy T. and a BBP. I watched the RK's for a good 30 min's, took some digiscope pix and shot some digital video.

18 RK's 5-23-06 (4:30pm - 5:00pm) 39 30'29.54"N 74 19'01.76"W


Red Knot Photo Album
Red Knot Video rk2
Red Knot Video rk1

Related links to Red Knot information:

GBB May 15th pix up

Pix from my survey week 3 at GBB are now up. A few good shots of a Least Sandpiper and a Ruddy Turnstone. The majority of the shots are digiscoped. The digiscoping with a handheld digital camera makes focused & properly lighted shots a challenge but on a sunny day there's bound to be some decent ones.

Photo Album


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DEP Closes Sections of Bay & Ocean Beaches for Protection of Rare Migratory Shorebirds

The following are exerts from the text of a DEP news release issued Friday, May 12, 2006:

TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced the temporary closure of several beaches both on the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean to protect critical feeding and resting areas for threatened and endangered migratory shorebirds.

Effective immediately, certain sections of Delaware Bay beaches will be closed through June 7 to allow populations of shorebirds, particularly the rapidly declining red knot, to feed undisturbed. Every year, the red knots, a threatened species, stop on bay beaches to feed on the fat-rich eggs of the horseshoe crab and gain the weight they need to successfully complete their migration to breeding grounds in the Arctic. Various beaches have been closed seasonally since 2003.

Closings on the Delaware Bay affect Gandys Beach, Fortescue Beach and Raybins Beach, all in Downe Township; Moores Beach in Maurice River Township; Reeds Beach, Kimbles Beach, Pierces Point, Rutgers Beach, Norburys Landing, Cooks Beach, Highs Beach and Sunray Beach, all in Middle Township; and Villas Beach in Lower Township.

On the Atlantic Ocean, the northeast end of the Malibu Beach Wildlife Management Area in Egg Harbor Township and Stone Harbor Point/Champagne Island in Stone Harbor Borough/Middle Township, located on Ocean Drive west of Longport, is closed to all access now through Oct. 15.

The closed areas of the beaches will be marked with printed signs and roped off from the end of the street to the water's edge. DEP staff and volunteers will be on hand at most beaches to help the public learn more about shorebirds, horseshoe crabs and the importance of enabling the birds to feed undisturbed. Maps depicting the closed areas are available on the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife Web site at:

Shore-birding OC & Malibu

Today I had an appointment down in Marmora so I figured I hit a few areas on my way home. So a visit to Corson's Inlet & the OC beach was first on the list. Very strong westerly winds today! I didn't see anything of interest at Corson Inlet park (along Middle Thorofare areas) but from 57th to Corson's Inlet plenty of SPP's & Sanderlings along the beach... est'd groups of 20 to 30 at ~ every street's beach. I also made a quick stop at 41st street beach, of which there were fewer Sanderlings but more people on the beach there, where as 57th to Corson's Inlet was pretty much just me.

Next I stopped at Howard Stainton Wildlife Refuge (Bay Ave. in OC). Here I found a group of 50 Black Skimmers roosting.


After HSWR I headed to Malibu Beach. Lots of Sanderlings, est'd in the mid hundreds. I wasn't out for an official survey so I didn't take an "official" estimate. There was also a group of 6 Ruddy T's & 1 AO flying by calling loudly. But the best spot of the day for me was a solo Purple Sandpiper that I came across while scope scanning through the Sanderlings. Thanks Mary for the heads up on the Purple Sandpipers being at Malibu. I only saw the 1 & I had almost left but decided to scan through the mass of Sanderlings again to see if anybody was mixed in & there it was! The Purple Sandpiper is in the pic below (click on the pic below & it'll open up the full size version).


Today's Photo Album

Survey wk 3: GBB Mon, May 15th, 2006

Today I was @ GBB WMA from 2:30pm until about 6:30pm. This afternoon & early evening was mostly sunny and warm. Winds were S-SW, changing to S by 5:30pm. Little Sheepshead Creek HT 10:26am, LT 4:43pm. Shooting Thorofare HT 10:12am, LT 4:21pm. Today's birds consisted of Dunlin, SBD's, BBP's, Least Sandpipers, SPP's, GYL's, AO's & a Ruddy T. Many areas throughout the GBB marshes had roosting mixed groups of: Dunlin, SBD's & BBP's (Groups of **170, **340, **50 & **200). Flying groups of unidentified shorebirds: **40, **20, **30.

Also of note: while scoping across Shooting Thorofare/Little Egg Inlet to the north end of Brigantine I saw what may have been 2 Red Knots. I could make out the BBP's no problem & what appeared to be Sanderlings running in & out with the waves coming up on the sandy beach. There were 2 birds that differed from the Sanderlings, easily visible that they were bigger than the Sanderlings and smaller than the BBP's. Reddish head, breast,sides, flanks and belly.

A photo album of pix from today's survey will be up later.

Below: A sleepy Least Sandpiper

Latest Photo Album

Pix from my May 2nd (week 1) survey are up now. I still haven't gotten to the videos yet but I will be!

Note: There won't be any photos or videos for my May 9th (week 2) survey as the lack of light and strong winds didn't allow for any viable media.

GBB 05/02/06 Photo Album


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Survey wk 2: GBB, Tu, May 9th, 2006

Today I was @ GBB WMA from 12:30pm until about 3:30pm. Very strong winds today with stronger gusts. Winds were E-NE. Little Sheepshead Creek HT 6:17am, LT 12:46pm. Shooting Thorofare HT 6:03am, LT 12:24pm. Today's counts found small groups at my most of my usual check spots (7-9 different areas along GBB) and 1 larger group of 250** Dunlin. Total counts today consisted of: 46 BBP's, 36 SBD, 260 Dunlin, 5 SPP, 2 SPS, 2 AO's and 1 Western Sandpiper. The 1 Western Sandpiper was with a group of 4 BBP's and 10 SBD all feeding on a mudflat along Big Thorofare by the "Sandbar" area.

Today was mostly a gray day with very strong winds so no video today and the digiscoping photography was pretty much a bust without good sunlight and the winds moving me as I tried to hold the dig cam steady to the birding scope. However it was a good day of birding with plenty of shorebirds to see.

Survey wk 1: GBB, Tu, May 2nd, 2006

Today I was @ GBB WMA from 1:15pm until about 4:45pm. Sunny and warm (70's). Cool winds from the E-SE. Little Sheepshead Creek HT 12:52pm, LT 6:43pm. Shooting Thorofare HT 12:38pm, LT 6:21pm. Willets could be seen & heard along the entire Gr. Bay blvd. Overall shorebirds seen: 2 LYL, 4 AO's, 51 BBP, 2 SPP's, 5 Least Sndprs, 1 Ruddy T., 10 Whimbrels, 2000** Dunlin. The 2000** Dunlin has been the largest group siting of any species that I have seen in my years of surveying GBB (since Fall 2004). The 2000** Dunlin were 1/2 way between the last traffic light bridge & Rutgers' Research Station on the west side of Gr. Bay Blvd.


Check Back soon for some pix & vid's from this day's survey.