Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Shorebirds’ Category

Joey & Hamlet’s History

Monday, April 25th, 2022

by Meaghan Lyon, Wildlife Biologist

The well-known Piping Plover pair, Joey and Hamlet, has been monitored by Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) at the Sea Girt National Guard Training Center (NGTC)  for three nesting seasons (check out our last blog on Joey and Hamlet’s arrival here!

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A New Island for Birds Emerges Along the New Jersey Coast

Friday, April 15th, 2022

By Todd Pover, Senior Wildlife Biologist

Photo Courtesy of NJ Fish and Wildlife

Something unusual and exciting has happened just off the coast of New Jersey; a new island that has become a haven for birds has formed. Located on the southern edge of the Little Egg Inlet, the island is about 1000 feet offshore of Little Beach Island, a Unit of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). Of course, it didn’t form overnight, an emergent shoal has been noted in that location since about 2018, and it has slowly been growing, likely as a result of the longshore drift of sand from Long Beach Island. The island, dubbed Horseshoe Island because of its distinctive shape, provides incredibly valuable habitat for nesting and migratory birds, including many at-risk species.

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Delaware Bay Shorebird Stewards needed for 2022 season

Wednesday, March 30th, 2022
Shorebirds along Delaware Bay: photo by Shorebird Steward Bob Bocci

May is wonderful time of year at the Delaware Bay. Horseshoe crabs are spawning and shorebirds stopping over on their migration to feed on the eggs. One of these shorebirds the red-knot, is a federally threatened species. Beaches along the Delaware Bay in New Jersey are extremely important stops in their migration. Many of these beaches have been restricted from May 7th to June 7th to allow the shorebirds to feed undisturbed. They need to gain enough weight to be able to fly non-stop to their breeding grounds in the artic.

photo by Shorebird Steward Dom Manalo

People come from all over to view this natural phenomenon and the Delaware bay is a popular tourist destination. It’s important to have Shorebird stewards on these restricted beaches to educate the public about the crabs and shorebirds. Shorebird stewards support beach restrictions by being present at closed beaches during shorebird season to ensure that resting and foraging shorebirds are not disturbed. This job includes educating beach visitors as to why the beaches are closed and the importance of the beaches to horseshoe crabs and migrating shorebirds.

Stewards are needed short term in May at beaches along the Delaware Bay in Cape May County from the Villas north to Reed’s Beach and beaches in Cumberland.

Please contact Larissa Smith at Larissa.Smith@conservewildlifenj.org for more details.

Part time Shorebird Stewards needed

A Return to the Bahamas in Search of Wintering Piping Plovers

Saturday, March 5th, 2022

by Todd Pover, Senior Wildlife Biologist

Flock of wintering piping plovers in the Bahamas – plovers grouping close together as the tide closes in on the foraging flat. Photo Coutesy of Keith Kemp.

Just a few hours after landing on the island of Abaco in the Bahamas in early February, I had my scope focused on several dozen piping plovers scurrying across an expansive sand flat. This was good news; the foraging flat still supported a healthy number of wintering plovers. The last time I had been at this site was almost exactly three years ago. A lot has happened since then.

On September 1, 2019, a major Category 5 storm, Hurricane Dorian, struck and lingered over the island of Abaco, and then Grand Bahama, bringing with it sustained winds of 185 MPH and gusts of 220 MPH, the strongest storm on record to hit the Bahamas. As expected from a storm of this intensity, lives were lost and devastating damage occurred to buildings and infrastructure. The natural environment took a beating too. As just one example, the pine forests, typical of these two Bahamian islands, that were in the direct path of the storm were nearly entirely destroyed – even today, 2 ½ years later, the sight of a “ghost forest” as far as the eye can see is a shocking sight.

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Habitat Enhancements for Rare Species at the Sea Girt National Guard Training Center

Thursday, March 3rd, 2022

by Meaghan Lyon, Wildlife Biologist

Although the Sea Girt National Guard Training Center (NGTC) has just a small section of beach to manage, their efforts there with threatened and endangered species has been big. Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey has been a partner in these efforts, monitoring the piping plovers that nest on this beach during the breeding season and assisting in the planning of habitat enhancements. The protection area at the NGTC has been the nesting site of a piping plover pair for the past three breeding seasons and it is likely they will return again this spring, all while supporting the military and recreational missions of the New Jersey Army National Guard.

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