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Kathy completed the third aerial count of the bay this year. She found the migration well underway with over 20,000 Red Knots along the Delaware and New Jersey Bayshores. Unfortunately, she found nearly all of them in a small area around Mispillion River in Delaware. This could be the result of the several days of onshore winds on the New Jersey side of the Bay. But it may signal more. Today we found very little Horseshoe Crab breeding activity on the New Jersey side of the bay and few crab eggs on the surface (available for shorebirds) ever since the full moon tide on May 7.

Last year, when birds found few crab eggs they voted with their wings making cross-bay movements, first to Delaware then back to New Jersey. Most of the birds in 2000 appeared to have made weight by the end of the season, but at least 10-20 percent did not.

Humphrey has, after a rough start, begun tracking the Red Knots instrumented with radio transmitters. He has found that birds are moving to the Atlantic Coast marsh. We have observed this in the past, always assuming birds left to find safe night-time roosting sites. Last year, Humphrey collected evidence of night feeding on marsh invertebrates, particularly blue mussels. Graciella and Humphrey also tried to answer the question, "do blue mussels offer an alternative food source for Red Knots"; the preliminary answer was "no". Their work this year will provide more information.

Lawrence J. Niles, PhD
Chief, NJ Endangered Species Program

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