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On the 9th we caught 1 turnstone and 28 sanderling and a very difficult morning trying to find a place without a beach packed with gulls.

Kathy completed her second flight yesterday finding 40,400 birds. Of the total about 24,000 were dunlin and 8,000 were dowitcher. Although seen on the beach, these birds are much more numerous in the marsh. Their numbers have been growing on the beach in the last few years and not because the population is growing. In fact, dowitchers and dunlins are among the shorebirds species that are declining. Kathy suspects the birds are moving out to the beach in search of better conditions. Crabbers still harvest crabs in the marsh during the breeding season, thus reducing egg availability on the marsh mudflat and sand bar where these birds feed.

The count also included 3,740 knots but most 2,700 were at Mispillion Harbor in Delaware. The 3,000 sanderlings were mostly in NJ. The count of turnstones remains nearly unchanged at 935. The main flocks of most of the species have yet to arrive.

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

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