It’s been a fairly mild winter; however, I do find myself daydreaming of warmer places. The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) has 28 Reserves around the United States and its territories of which the Delaware NERR is apart. One of the Reserves I have wanted to visit is Jobos Bay in Aguirre, Puerto Rico. This Reserve was adopted into the national system in 1981. With approximately 3,300 acres, Jobos Bay NERR encompasses a wide variety of habitats including mangrove forests, subtropical dry forests, sea grass beds, salt flats, and coral reefs. It is home to animals such as the peregrine falcon, West Indian manatee, brown pelicans, and hawksbill turtles. Jobos Bay would make a great destination! For more information about Jobos Bay NERR visit them on Facebook and on the National Estuarine Research Reserve website. Keep checking back for the next Reserve Destination location.
Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’
Many people living on the coasts and near oceans have heard of seabirds. Some of these birds are what scientists call pelagic which means that they live mostly in the open sea or ocean; however, they will come to land to breed. That is why it was such a surprise to see one of our researchers bring a juvenile northern gannet into the Reserve. The northern gannet is a seabird known for their remarkable diving capabilities to feed on various fish species. These birds are primarily white with black wing tips, a yellowish head, and greyish eyes. However, the one brought into the Reserve was a juvenile and therefore it was brownish with white spots. This young gannet was found in a salt marsh near the Delaware Bay. An unusual spot to find a gannet as it is a pelagic species; and it’s not breeding season. Unfortuantely, the little gannet might have a respiratory issue and was taken to Tri State Bird Rescue where it is being nurtured back to health. For more information on northern gannets visit the US Fish and Wildlife Service website and for more information on bird rescue work visit the Tri State Bird Rescue and Research website.
Did you know that the American holly (Ilex opaca) is Delaware’s State tree? The holly was adopted as the State’s tree in 1939. This beautiful native plant is commonly used in decorations this time of year. But, I encourage you to take a hike on one of our trails to see the beauty of the American holly as it naturally decorates our woodlands and forests. The bright red berries and the thick green leaves provide a punch of color against the backdrop of late fall and early winter’s browner tones. American holly trees look great planted in a landscape and the berries are a source of food for many bird species. Enjoy a winter hike this year and explore the great outdoors! Our trails at the St. Jones and the Blackbird Creek Reserves are open dawn until dusk 7 days a week. And as always during this time of year, be aware that there is active hunting on portions of the Reserve (except on Sundays when there is no hunting).
“It’s always fun to find a nice surprise when I’m working in the field! While surveying impoundments at the Ted Harvey Wildlife Management Area from a Delaware Fish and Wildlife fanboat, one of the other scientists I was working with noticed some movement in the marsh. He asked, “Did you see that teal?” I replied, “No, I didn’t see anything?” Next thing I know he’s running through the flooded marsh after an injured teal (so much for my great birding skills). When he brought the green winged teal to me I noticed that half of its wing was missing. Luckily, the duck had found a great hiding spot where it was able to recover from its injury. Because its flying abilities were greatly hindered, it was taken to Tri-State Bird Rescue where it will find a permanent home in captivity. Another exciting field day!”
Looking for something fun to do this Saturday, October 22? Join us at the 4th annual Blackbird Creek Fall Festival at the Blackbird Creek Reserve on 801 Blackbird Landing Road, Townsend, Delaware from 10 am – 4 pm. Delight in the beauty of the Blackbird Creek by taking a hay ride or enjoying a leisurely canoe trip. Listen to the sounds of great musicians such as Em McKeever, Crabmeat Thompson, The Bog Turtle Band, Mallory Square, and Nice Like Dat. The kids will enjoy exploring the straw maze, making fall crafts, watching the Retriever Demonstration by the Del Bay Retriever Club, and learning about Native American culture and heritage. There will also be local artisans, vendors, exhibitors, demonstrations, and food.
And, if you are a runner/walker and are looking for a challenge, the Appoquinimink River Association is hosting the Run for our Rivers 5K at 9 am at the Blackbird Creek Reserve prior to the festival. For more information about the 5K visit the Run for our Rivers webpage and for more information about the Blackbird Creek Fall Festival visit the Festival webpage.
Last week the Delaware NERR staff had the great opportunity to band osprey with staff from our sister reserve, Chesapeake Bay Maryland NERR. We began the day learning about their stewardship, education, and research projects followed by an awesome tour of their Jug Bay site. In the afternoon we assisted Greg Kearns with the Patuxent River Park and the Maryland Reserve staff in banding osprey. Osprey are large raptors that typically live around bodies of water which makes it easy to catch their favorite food…fish. They often make their large nests of twigs, bark, and grass on the top of man-made structures such as poles and platforms. Enjoy the photos of the osprey banding! For more information about the Chesapeake Bay Maryland NERR or about the Patuxent River Park (including the Live Osprey Cam) visit them on the web.
What is Green Eggs and Sand? It is an innovative workshop experience and curriculum designed to explore the unique relationship between horseshoe crabs (HSC) and shorebirds and their management issues along the Atlantic coast. This curriculum is designed for middle and high school level students and adults.
The 2011 Green Eggs and Sand Workshop dates are: April 15 – 17 in Savannah, GA; May 13 – 15 in Cape May County, NJ; and June 3 – 5 in Stony Brook, NY. For more information on Green Eggs and Sand and upcoming workshops click here.
As we prepare for our Thanksgiving celebration, we often think of turkeys! But did you know that there are wild turkey here in Delaware? In fact, years ago we spotted a small flock of turkeys roaming the St.Jones Reserve. They are beautiful birds, and, contrary to popular belief, they can fly! Female turkeys (hens) tend to be less showy than the males (Toms or Gobblers). In fact the male turkey is quite the site as he fans his tail feathers and struts like a king. Be on the look out for Delaware’s wild turkeys around the woods and along the edges of farm fields. For more information about turkey counts in Delaware read this article from the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife. Happy Thanksgiving!