Snapping Turtle Maternity Ward

If it's Memorial Day weekend, that must mean that Sanpping Turtles from Lake Appert are heading to the Wright-Finn yard to lay their eggs.

The first mom arrived yesterday.

Sometimes they cross the Franklin Turnpike to lay their eggs, so look out if you're headed that way.


Horseshoe Crab Turn-turtled

On a walk along Cape May Beach on Tuesday, I came across this turn-turtle Horseshoe Crab.

That guy has one complicated underside!

It was high and dry, about 10 yards above the tide line, so I carried it back to water and it was quickly on his way.

I had learned the day before that upside down Horseshoe Crabs can last no more than one tide cycle out of the water.

And these guys are crucial to the survival of our critically endangered Red Knots. Article here.

Sorry, but I did not have any quarters on me to show scale. It was heavier than I expected when I carried it to the water, and still kicking.



Cape May Horseshoe Crabs & More

Patty and I stopped by Reed's Beach on the Delaware Bayshore on Monday in hopes of seeing a few endangered Red Knots.

We saw an armada of Horseshoe Crabs making landfall, which attracted  a feeding frenzy of mostly gulls but quite a few shorebirds as well.

(Yes, almost everything you see above along the shoreline that's not sand or water is birds.)IMG_7994 2

Meredith Morehouse of  Manomet and the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) showed us what the fuss was about: Horseshoe Crab eggs (right).

She held up a batch on a tiny half shell for us to see and took a survey regrading the group's efforts to help migratory birds and educate the public, including the signs below left.

We also bumped into Larissa Smith of Conserve Wildlife Foundation, who  showed us more shorebird action at the next beach south and rescued a tiny Diamondback Terrapin (Below right) crossing the road along the way.

(We did see several Red Knots, but none close enough to photograph. Nature's spectacle, however, was memorable.)



Where Did His Goldfinches Go?

A reader writes:

My wife and I feed birds 12 months a year and have since 1993.

We are visited by goldfinches, sometimes as many as 40 on our four Nyjer feeders, from early fall into late spring. 

Last week they disappeared after the May 10 storm. Not a one has visited since then. Do they migrate North to breed around this time?
Any advice would be appreciated.
I responded that the goldfinches may have left because of a local outside cat or nesting accipiter (because goldfinches breed here, just later in the season than most birds).
What do you think?


Can You I.D. This Bird?

A reader writes:

Please identify this poor wet birdie who was drowning in my fish pool when my MIL fished him out with a small piece of wood.

Poor little guy was shivering and allowed me to get these closeups.

Looks like someone tried to dab blue paint on his face!

A friend thought he was a first winter Indigo Bunting. Is he correct?

I can’t imagine such a beautiful bird popping up in my yard in Maywood!

Monday Mystery Answered

DSCN1316On Monday I asked,

What's been chewing on the Brotherton Wren box, and what's the best way to repair the damage to prevent its recurrence?

Carol Flanagan blamed a squirrel an suggested putting up a metal barrier along the gnawed part.

We'll see what we can do. (Thanks, Carol!)