Ready for your visit to the Bayshore?
Here are a few helpful tips. But, remember there are no guarantees with wildlife.
Peak Horseshoe Crab Spawning
Timing is key for viewing horseshoe crab spawning. Horseshoe crabs spawn on the high tides, try to arrive within an hour of high tide. They will spawn night and day, EVERYDAY in May and June, and even a little later into summer. But, the very best time to see horseshoe crabs spawning is on the high tides of the full and new moons, when the tides are at their highest.
Peak Shorebird Viewing
Shorebirds are in the Delaware Bay region year-round, found in many wetland habitats including beaches, salt marshes, and ponds. However, the peak period for the Arctic-bound migrating shorebirds who are gorging on horseshoe crab eggs is May 12-30, sunrise to sunset. Some birds will begin arriving as early as May 7th and leaving as late as June 7th. In most cases, ideal viewing is a high to falling tide, though some beaches are best at mid-low tide. Check the map for details.
Horseshoe crab Spawning:
Mid-May-Mid-June, High Tides, Full and New Moons
Arctic-bound Migrating Shorebirds:
May 12-30, Sunrise to Sunset.
Key Viewing Locations
Beyond these beaches there are many other Delaware Bay beaches that have phenomenal spawning events and the frenzy of feeding shorebirds. Be sure to explore and share your experiences.
Shhh! DO NOT DISTURB THE BIRDS
In May, when the large flocks of migratory shorebirds are resting and refueling on their way to the Arctic it is important to give them every minute to feed. If you encounter large flocks of shorebirds, let them move in their own time before you enter the area.
In New Jersey, many beaches are closed to allow birds maximum feeding time. There is still plenty of viewing opportunities and many beaches will have Stewards posted to help answer questions. Click here for a full list of closed beaches.
Things to know:
- Be respectful of community residents. Do not block driveways, enter private property, or make loud noises.
- Expand your trip with other Bayshore experiences. For tips on where to stay, eat, and play go to www.discoverdelawarebay.org
- In New Jersey, many beaches are closed for the migrating shorebirds from approximately May 7th to June 7th.
- Join one of the sanctioned horseshoe crab programs to help the crabs while having a closer experience with their amazing spawning events.
- Check the tides. Search on NOAA Tide Charts to find the tides from nearby tide stations.
- For more information about the natural history of horseshoe crabs go to www.horseshoecrab.org
- For more information about the natural history of the key migrating shorebirds go to www.conservewildlifenj.org