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Conditions have changed little in the last few days, in fact they have grown a little worse. A steady onshore wind has prevented crabs from spawning on the Delaware side which may have caused what appears to be yet another movement of the knots. In the morning it was apparent that a new group of birds had arrived on NJ beaches; there were more on Reeds. What we couldn't know was whether the new birds had just arrived from the south or from Delaware
Humphrey shed some light on the new birds. In a survey of the roost at Stone Harbor, he counted an astounding 11,000 birds on the roost. Amongst them were several birds that had been recently banded in Delaware proving a movement back to NJ. We are growing concerned about the birds ability to find eggs but expect that the new moon will bring additional eggs.
The crew made a brilliant catch of birds at Fortesque Beach including a sufficient sample of all the three focus species, red knot, ruddy turnstone and sanderling. The catch will help us maintain our surveillance of weights (see link for weight gain graphs attached to this page). The weights are still low, but we are just entering the critical period of assessment. The data from this week's catch will tell us much more.
Humphrey and Holly have observed bird feeding on mussels in the Atlantic Coast marsh. They are certain now that mussels can be found in more areas than we found last year. They and Graceila have also found the mussels are not sufficient prey to build weight and do not provide a suitable replacement for horseshoe crab eggs.