Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Plumb Beach 5.25.16

     And just like that, Mother Nature turned up the heat. With temperatures into the 80's today, it felt like a beach day and after work I did just that. I went to Plumb beach to see what was going on in the natural world.
     The horseshoe crabs are busy this time of year, laying their eggs so the beach can be a busy place if you catch it at just the right time. I got there for low tide, where many horseshoe crabs were locked in their egg-laying embrace, under a layer of sand to stay wet and out of the sun's heat. If I found over turned, or unburied crabs, I helped them to place where they could wet their book gills and perhaps breathe a sigh of relief.
     The sun was also bright which meant I was able to shoot my photos manually and get some decent pictures. I hope those of you looking at this (whoever you may be) are getting the chance to also take advantage of this beautiful weather we are having here in Brooklyn!

American Oystercatcher.
I love orange things- so therefore I really like these birds for those carrot-beaks!
A lucky herring gull and his catch. He held this crab and ate it with pride, as other nearby gulls looked on, and didn't dare approach him.
I was excited that this came out semi-crisp.
This first winter herring gull came out even better!
A male horseshe crab is clamped onto the female, in the lead. With their back ends in the wet sand, they are safe until the tide rises again.
Some cute little dunlin walked along the eastern part of the beach.
Migrating shorebirds are in hot pursuit of good horseshoe crab beaches as those little eggs are vital capsules of fuel to help them continue their migration.
In terms of shorebirds, they can be tricky to identify. Dunlin are some of the easiest- in breeding they have that black belly and that downward curing bill. They are relatively small, but unmistakable in appearance.
...with other peeps (small shorebirds), it gets a bit trickier. This guy, I am 98% sure he is a semi-palmated sandpiper. Shorebirds are not my forte.
This semi-palmated is so tiny, but this capture makes him seem like he is kind of a big deal.

I liked this gull, he seems like he is so wise-- despite being a juvenile... err, first winter (greater black backed gull).

See those little blue grains? Those are horseshoe crab eggs!! What many birds are stopping over for. Some double their weight in eggs to help them finish their migration to their breeding grounds. But don't worry, female crabs can lay up to 60,000 eggs each, so there are plenty to go around.
Oh yeah, and horseshoe crabs have blue blood! Unlike us, where our hemoglobin is iron based (and red), their blood is copper based, and therefore blue! Someone must have pecked this guy or who knows what. My hope is that he heals up and lives on.
Their blood also has a huge value in the medical world. Many horseshoe crabs are harvested, bled, and released for our benefit in the medical world.
A willet in the marsh behind the beach.
Always lovely to see a leggy boat-tailed grackle strutting his stuff on the beach.
A wink with his translucent eyelid, the nictitating membrane.
An osprey embraces his inner waterfowl.
Same osprey taking off with Breezy Point in the background.