This past weekend, I left home at 2:30 AM to drive to Slaughter Beach in Delaware to witness and photograph the thousands of Horseshoe Crabs that come out of the Delaware Bay to spawn and lay eggs on the beach after a full moon in May each year. That weekend it also was the “super moon,” so my expectations were very high. What also makes this an amazing event is when the Horseshoe Crabs are spawning, thousands of shorebirds (e.g., Red Knots) arrive from as far away as South America to feast on the crab eggs in order to replenish their weight and food supply for the rest of their joinery to Canada, where they nest.
Unfortunately, I was told that the Horseshoe Crabs arrived for the Saturday evening high tide, but I arrived for the Sunday morning high tide, and there were only a few dozen Horseshoe Crabs and not many shorebirds. I felt like the (below) frustrated and struggling Horseshoe Crab on his back, disappointed that we missed the event. This is one of the crabs that turned over in the surf; I flipped it back over so it could return to the bay. They are prehistoric looking creatures, and it is no wonder, since the earliest Horseshoe Crab fossils were found in strata from the late Ordovician period, about 450 million years ago. (Double click on the below image to see the detail of this strange crab, as well as the other images in this article to see them larger.)
Since nothing was happening at Slaughter Beach, I went to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. Blackwater was not disappointing, because it was very active with adult and juvenile eagles, as well as an active eagle’s nest with two eaglets in it. I have only started to process my images from last weekend, but below are two of the eagle images. In the below images, an eagle had just returned to a favorite perch in a tall, old dead tree with a piece of its prey.
As mentioned above, I have many more images to review and process from last weekend, and will eventually upload them here or to my website. I am also behind in posting other images due to conflicting commitments and spending more time shooting photos than processing them. In an attempt to get partially caught up, below are two images of the Barred Owls that I discovered in late March and that I photographed about two weeks ago. The trees are fully leafed out now, which makes getting a clear shot of them very difficult.
I hope to get caught up on processing my images over the next couple weeks. However, that is unlikely, since I am planning several trips to national parks and refuges, but I will have my laptop with me and try to keep up and post additional articles and images to my blog. When I return from those trips, I hope to be able to photograph the Barred Owls’ owlets and the chicks of the Osprey that I photographed recently and posted to this blog.