To pass the afternoon, we sat quietly along the edge of a pond created recently by North American Beavers (Castor canadensis). They first constructed their dam on this small stream about five years ago. Since then, a flourishing wetland has become established. Have a look.
Isn’t that amazing? North American Beavers build and maintain what human engineers struggle to master—dams and ponds that reduce pollution, allow fish passage, and support self-sustaining ecosystems. Want to clean up the streams and floodplains of your local watershed? Let the beavers do the job!
Have you purchased your 2023-2024 Federal Duck Stamp? Nearly every penny of the 25 dollars you spend for a duck stamp goes toward habitat acquisition and improvements for waterfowl and the hundreds of other animal species that use wetlands for breeding, feeding, and as migration stopover points. Duck stamps aren’t just for hunters, purchasers get free admission to National Wildlife Refuges all over the United States. So do something good for conservation—stop by your local post office and get your Federal Duck Stamp.
Still not convinced that a Federal Duck Stamp is worth the money? Well then, follow along as we take a photo tour of Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. Numbers of southbound shorebirds are on the rise in the refuge’s saltwater marshes and freshwater pools, so we timed a visit earlier this week to coincide with a late-morning high tide.
As the tide recedes, shorebirds leave the freshwater pools to begin feeding on the vast mudflats exposed within the saltwater marshes. Most birds are far from view, but that won’t stop a dedicated observer from finding other spectacular creatures on the bay side of the tour route road.
No visit to Bombay Hook is complete without at least a quick loop through the upland habitats at the far end of the tour route.
We hope you’ve been convinced to visit Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge sometime soon. And we hope too that you’ll help fund additional conservation acquisitions and improvements by visiting your local post office and buying a Federal Duck Stamp.
First there was the Nautilus. Then there was the Seaview. And who can forget the Yellow Submarine? Well, now there’s the S. S. Haldeman, and today we celebrated her shakedown cruise and maiden voyage. The Haldeman is powered by spent fuel that first saw light of day near Conewago Falls at a dismantled site that presently amounts to nothing more than an electrical substation. Though antique in appearance, the vessel discharges few emissions, provided there aren’t any burps or hiccups while underway. So, climb aboard as we take a cruise up the Susquehanna at periscope depth to have a quick look around!
Watertight and working fine. Let’s flood the tanks and have a peek at the benthos. Dive, all dive!
We’re finding that a sonar “pinger” isn’t very useful while running in shallow water. Instead, we should consider bringing along a set of Pings—for the more than a dozen golf balls seen on the river bottom. It appears they’ve been here for a while, having rolled in from the links upstream during the floods. Interestingly, several aquatic species were making use of them.
Well, it looks like the skipper’s tired and grumpy, so that’s all for now. Until next time, bon voyage!
It’s been more than a year and a half since Uncle Tyler Dyer has been on one of our outings. He’s been laying low, keeping to himself—to protect his health. So he was quite excited when we made our way to the Delaware coast to have a look at some marine and beach life at Cape Henlopen State Park.
Uncle Ty hadn’t visited the Atlantic shoreline here for almost two decades, and he was more than a bit startled at what he saw…
A nearly sterile beach might be delightful for barefoot sunbathers and the running of the dogs, but Uncle Ty isn’t the barefoot type. He likes his sandals and a slow peaceful stroll with plenty of flora and fauna to have a look at. We could tell he was getting bored. So we headed home.
Along the way, Uncle Ty asked to stop at the Post Office. He wanted to get a stamp. Thinking he was going to fire off a terse letter of protest to the powers that be about what he saw at the beach, we obliged.
Soon, Uncle Ty trotted down the steps of the Post Office with his stamp.
Uncle Ty bought a duck stamp, so naturally we asked him when he decided to take up hunting. He explained, “Man, I gave that stuff up when I was thirteen. I’ve got the Thoreau/Walden mindset—hunting is something of an adolescent pursuit.”
It turns out Uncle Ty bought a duck stamp to support wetland acquisition and improvements, not only to benefit ducks and other wildlife living there, but to improve water quality. In Delaware, tidal estuary restoration work is underway at both the Prime Hook and Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuges on Delaware Bay. These projects will certainly enhance the salt marsh’s filtration capabilities and just might improve the populations of benthic life in the bay and adjacent ocean at Cape Henlopen.
Uncle Ty tossed the stamp atop the dashboard and we were again on our way, but we weren’t going directly home. We made a stop along the way. A stop we’ll share with you next time.