Monday, May 18, 2009

Come one,Come the Horseshoe Crab Egg stravaganza ..all Red Knots>>please bring friends and family!

Howdee all,

I am submitting this for Bird Photography Weekly…There will be birds in this post..I promise!

Wow…This was some party! Horseshoe crabs like I have never seen before…doing their thing..laying eggs.

Slaughter beach, DESlaughter Beach, De_20090516_005 The eggs are very tiny…they lay thousands

Horseshoe Crab Mating Ritual

“Each spring during the high tides of the new and full moons, thousands of horseshoe crabs descend on the Delaware Bay shoreline to spawn.

Males, two-thirds the size of their mates, cluster along the water's edge as the females arrive. With glove-like claws on its first pair of legs, the male hangs on to the female's shell and is pulled up the beach to the high tide line.

The female pauses every few feet to dig a hole and deposit as many as 20,000 pearly green, birdshot-sized eggs. The male then fertilizes the eggs as he is pulled over the nest. After the spawning is complete, the crabs leave and the waves wash sand over the nest.”  click here to learn more and here

Birdies are here to feast on these eggs!   

Slaughter Beach, De_20090516_016  birds eating Horseshoe crab caviar!

majority of these are semi-palmated sanpipersSlaughter Beach, De_20090516_021

Check out the can get a better idea of how many Horseshoe there were.

There were hundreds of Ruddy TurnstonesSlaughter Beach, De_20090516_072

Least SandpipersSlaughter Beach, De_20090516_030

Short-billed DowitchersSlaughter Beach, De_20090516_051  Red knots..Well this is not a real one…I still don't have a digiscoping camera…since mine stopped working… Slaughter Beach, De_20090516_039And my 20x Canon could not reach that dark spit on the right so that you could see the hundreds of red knots and other shore birds  ..if i had a working digiscoping camera..I could have shown you a hundreds of red knots!Slaughter Beach, De_20090516_040  Instead how about another Short billed DowitcherSlaughter Beach, De_20090516_050From left to right Short billed Dowitcher,Least Sandpiper, Willet

This photo is  great for size comparison …click on the photo.Slaughter Beach, De_20090516_058On a more serious should read this about

The Plight of the Red Knot 

“Rufa red knots need about two weeks at Delaware Bay to recover from the long flight from South America and to store nutrients for the onward flight to their Arctic breeding grounds”

“horseshoe crabs were heavily overharvested as bait for the conch and eel fisheries, and this had a disastrous impact on red knots, which were unable to refuel properly”

You can help the plight of the red knot by Donating to

Delmarva Ornithological Society

If you are ever in Delaware this time of year…You must see this Amazing Eggstravaganza!


Check out more great birdie shots atbird photog weekly


  1. very very cool and egg-citing to see!

  2. Awesome post - my family made a trip through Delaware last spring, almost exactly a year ago, and visited some of the same spots. It was great to re-visit that trip through your experience!

  3. It is an amazing thing to watch. I've been doing it in or near Cape May for more than 30 years now. It's still fascinating.

  4. Great Post and some cool pictures. That must have been quite the experience! So when are you getting to Connecticut? Are you working your way north?


  5. Just found you through twitter. Love your blog. Very nice post and pics. Looks like a great place to be.

  6. Beautiful shore birds series!.
    I like that Ruddy Turnstones colours.

  7. Well it looks like a good time was had by all.

  8. Wow, what a sight. Crab caviar huh? Great bird shots as always Dawn.

  9. Amazing sighting. Love the big red knot photo :-)

  10. Dawn, all of your shorebird pictures are like a feast for my eyes! I LOVE the Rudy Turnstone picture!

  11. Very beautiful birds and horseshoe crabs. :))) Nice photos. Have fun traveling. :)))

  12. Makes you wonder just how many crabs end up hatching? :c)

  13. ....fabulous post and so interesting. I didn't know any of this....great video. I hope I get to witness it someday. Great info...

  14. Great shots of the birds and that must have been a sight to see all those horseshoe crabs.

  15. Cute Hubby and I were hoping to be there this year... but it didn't work out. Hey, we have that exact picture of the huge Red Knot -- fun!

    We are so so sorry we missed you in your blast across our state. How about you come back so we can meet for happy hour? Please?

  16. Oh, my goodness! Beautiful photos. I love that Ruddy Turnstone. We get those up here, I understand, but I've yet to see one.

  17. How interesting. I'd never stopped to consider how baby crabs were born!

  18. beachgrl,
    Howdee sicksta1 tee was egg citing!

    noflickster, you have been here! great area isnt it?

    Oh live so close to this..thats can see all this whenever you want.

    tt was awesome! We are headed north ..but wont be in Ct until mid June. going to NYC for a week then to MA.

    Welcome! twitter is great isnt it?
    Very helpful people. glad you enjoyed my blog.

    thanks...yes the ruddy turnstone is gorgeous in breeding plumage.

    Yes sicksta..good time...wish you were here to see with us.

    Howdee Gaelyn..It was so much you get to the coast often? Or are you always near the mountains>

    Thanks! Thanks for visiting!

    Kallen305 ,
    Oh thanks so much Kim, I will feed your eyes some more..tee hee! Rudy Turnstone is so colorful now!

    Thanks for visiting..and your comment!

    Yes, i wondered about that too..I guess they lay the populations of the crabs were more strained by the harvesters of them.

    Thanks Kelly,
    I hope you get to experience this too!

    Andy..I have never seem this was amazing!

    Warren and Lisa Strobel ,
    Well we just couldnt make it work this time around..could we..bummer..that happens allot when we travel..sooner or later it will work out!
    I would love to do some birding and a happy hour!

    Earl Cootie.
    Thanks Earl! you best get your butt out there and see one of the Ruddies..they are lookin hot just about now!

    Yes you are right really was great timing..we were lucky..with a little help from our tweets and chirps.

    Yeah..I didnt know how it all happened either...Learn something new every day!

    Thanks everyone...I am so glad you enjoyed this as much as i enjoyed seeing it.

  19. That's just unbelievable! That is awesome. Those horseshoes and birds are SO beautiful! About 30 yrs ago when the Outer Banks were not considered so desirable (no one around) we used boat over to Shackleford Banks, most times in hopes to see wild ponies but enjoying ALL regardless if we saw the ponies, I thought I had been given the thrill of a lifetime when we saw horseshoe crabs (not in those numbers though!) doing the egg thing. It was almost shocking! Definitely one of the prettiest sights I'd ever seen. As many years as we returned (10 or 15) we never did see that sight again. I've yearned since to see it again. I read the links... can you believe how old they are - 250 million years, and Indians ate them. That is so "cool facts!" And now fertilizer - arg! Goodness... I can see it now, next year, mid-late May - trying to traverse the inlet in a john boat "we're going to see the horseshoes!" (tee-hee can you tell they're one of my favorite sea critters?) I just loved this post! Love your adventures. I'm gonna get me a Homey yet - lol!

  20. horseshoe crabs, birds and waves.... Oh my!! Amazing site! You and jeffy go to the coolest places..

  21. These crabs look more like Sting ray!
    Why is this place called Slaughter beach?

  22. Jay,
    Get you a Homey! We can do some fun trips.

    US Pictures
    I have no idea why it is called Slaughter beach..sound kinda bad doesnt it?

  23. According to good ol' Wikipedia,

    "There are at least two stories of where the towns name came from: The first is that it was named after William Slaughter, A local postmaster in the mid 1800s. The second story claims “the name came from the horseshoe crabs that wash up on shore and die each year. They come near shore to shallow water to lay their eggs and the low tide strands them leaving them to die, thus the "slaughter.""


  24. noflickster
    Thanks for the info on How Slaughter beach may have gotten its name..

  25. They are so weird!!! Kike prehistorical insects!


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