Delaware news – part 2

So the weather has improved on the whole, but we are still getting rain between being boiled alive in the humid atmosphere and eaten by bugs. We still have very few Knot on the Delaware side of the Bay, although we have heard there are over 10,000 on Reed’s Beach in New Jersey. The Horseshoe Crabs are spawning better now as it warms up so we are resighting Turnstone etc. and out looking for Knot appearing. Guy and Richard headed out to likely beaches to recce on Wednesday and Richard came up with an option at the bottom of Ted Harvey that would require two people watching the net – a plan was hatched to perch Richard on a hut and put Jacquie in a boat.

The setting team headed off on Thursday morning to launch the skiff at North Bowers, but it started raining as we were driving round. So plan B – we decided to launch, but to keep the gear dry by leaving it in the vehicles and driving round to meet the boat at the north end of North Bowers. The team at the house were stood down for the time being and did a great job of cleaning house! We were looking out for Knot as we waited for the rain to stop, but there were very few around – but – we had a catchable sample of Turnstone on the beach at North Bowers so, in view of the weather, the lack of Knot and the logistical difficulties of catching on the south end of Ted Harvey, we decided to go to plan C – catch a sample of Turnstone.

We set over a slight channel which was now back from the tide, but had peat and eggs in it so the Turnstone were running up into it. We didn’t get more than 15 Turnstone catchable so, as the tide dropped off and the birds preferred to feed on the tide edge, we decide to move the net. Putting it to catch on the tide edge worked well and we made a catch of 262 birds including 83 Turnstone, but no Knot again – everything was processed and samples of Turnstone and Semipalmated Sandpipers were flagged.

Processing a Turnstone, by Louise Clewley
Processing a Turnstone, by Louise Clewley

Friday and Saturday were resighting and counting days, as well as continuing to look for Knot (with little success – those that are here are nearly all in New Jersey). We also had some people helping out at the Peace, Love and Horseshoe Crabs Festival – introducing children and their parents to the system, while others joined the New Jersey shorebird team at a BBQ in New Jersey. With some Knot seen in the Harbor and lots of Turnstone on the beach by the house, we are aiming for our next catch on Monday – hopefully of Knot if enough have arrived.