Today was peak season for Horseshoe Crabs. I had never seen so many as evidenced by the following photos taken at Fortescue, NJ on the Delaware Bay.
Horseshoe Crabs coming ashore to mate.
Horseshoe Crabs on a bank of Oyster Creek that empties into Delaware Bay. Note Great Blue Heron at upper left.
The Great Blue Heron did not seem to join in the egg feast that other birds were indulging in.
Great Blue Heron on a bank of Oyster Creek at Fortescue, NJ.
A quarter mile of the beach was covered with Horsehoe Crabs and the birds eating their eggs.
A lady who was monitoring the beach to make sure people did not go near the birds told me that Horseshoe Crabs were late this year, probably because of cooler weather and abundant rain. However, migratory birds like the Red Knot landed in New Jersey at their regular time and could not find enough eggs to eat! They rely on the eggs to fuel themselves for their 9,000 mi journey (15,000 km), and alarms are going up about their fate this year. They are way underweight at the mid point of their migration.
Red Knot standing among Semipalmated Sandpipers.
Semipalmated Sandpipers eating Horseshoe Crab eggs.