Every year thousands creep their way to the edge of their world and celebrate the long June days as only a critter around for hundreds of millions of years can.
They came before the dinosaurs.
The only other humans on this half-mile patch of beach were a few kids flipping exuberant males back on their many feet, their parents drinking at the local watering hole across the street.
A few moments earlier, only a few of the critters were visible, but cued by voices humans cannot hear, they rose from the waters, seemingly in unison, to creep to the top of the tide line.
An hour later, most will be gone. A few will not return to the water, their gills a treat for the gulls.
In a couple of weeks, the high tide will help release the few of the millions of new critters that survive through June.
Most will fall prey to the ghost crabs, the gulls, the grackles, the killies and kingfish. The Audubon Society folk will praise the eggs as fodder for the red knots, perhaps easier on human eyes but certainly not nearly as interesting as these creatures from the depths of the bay.
Decades ago I stumbled on thousands of horseshoe crab babies, moments before they emerged from their now transparent shells, spinning and spinning as if anticipating their release.
Never saw a red knot do that.