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We made two net sets and caught over 400 birds. Large flocks of knots crowded the sandy beaches of Cook's and Kimble's Beach, perhaps 6,000 or more. We caught enough birds to cover our knot and turnstone sample for this period.

Allan and Patricia led the rest of the crew for Delaware to continue the scanning of birds for color bands. Graciela left also to complete her study of horseshoe crab egg thresholds. Allan will attempt to estimate the number of knots in the bay with the results of his study and now beliefs there are approximately 55,000 to 60,000 birds. He is alarmed by the heavy use of the Stone Harbor area by red knots because it may be a result of the lack of available eggs on the New Jersey beaches. The birds feed on small mussels while on the roost, perhaps supplemented by eggs when they fly across the peninsula to the bay beaches. The problem arises from our understanding that mussels do match the energetic qualities of horseshoe crab eggs. The birds can maintain themselves on mussels but they cannot gain the weight they need in the short period they are here.

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

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