We focus on two highlights for June. Early in the month, as in the second half of June, migratory shorebirds gather in huge numbers along the shores of Delaware Bay, feeding on the eggs of the horseshoe crabs that breed here. The second highlight is the transformation of spring into summer, as birds are busy with the breeding season and summer wildflowers and butterflies appear.
Thousands of shorebirds provide an amazing spectacle; the photos above are from Cook's Beach, Cape May County, NJ.
Below, left to right: Semipalmated Sandpiper feeding on horseshoe crab egg, Willet, Laughing Gull.
Ruddy Turnstones (above right) are joined by Red Knots, Dunlin, and Sanderlings in the big shorebird flocks of late spring.
We're lucky to have an easily viewed rookery of herons and egrets in the northern part of Cape May County along the Rt. 52 bridge heading into Ocean City. Right at the Ocean City Welcome Center you can observe courtship and nesting of several species, including Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, above, and Great Egret, below.
Each female horseshoe crab can lay tens of thousands of tiny greenish eggs each year; many wash away or are never fertilized and end up settling onto the beaches, where they are eaten by hungry shorebirds and gulls.
Some of the nesting birds of Cape May County, clockwise from top left: Ovenbird, Pine Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Seaside Sparrow, Yellow-throated Warbler, Orchard Oriole, Willow Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Yellow-breasted Chat. Bottom row, left to right: Yellow Warbler, Indigo Bunting, Prothonotary Warbler.
Some flowers and butterflies from June, clockwise from top left: Hedge Bindweek, Zabulon Skipper, Spotted Wintergreen, Mountain Laurel, Variegated Fritillary, Queen Anne's Lace, Viceroy.
Lots of activity in the marshes and on the beaches, too. Clockwise from left: Clapper Rail, Ghost Crab, Black Skimmer, Snowy Egret, Piping Plover.