Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Early, Frenetic Spring on the Chesapeake

Life in the central Chesapeake Bay region and its tributaries is off to a frenetic pace...

Here at St. Jerome's Creek, we've now seen:

- Many pairs of actively nesting Ospreys

- Mature and baby Ratsnakes (the mature ones are black, the babies have stripes)

- Lots of baby (1 inch) blue crabs, though many dead actually washed up into the quickly-greening marsh grasses - the larger ones haven't yet been coaxed out of the deep mud into the shallows where our crab pots await

- Mummichogs going crazy in the mud flats/marshy areas, swimming, spawning, fighting...(inch-long little fish; males with large black-tipped dorsal fin)

- Pine tree pollen (thick yellow dust) covering everything at least 3 weeks earlier than usual this year

- Black loons fishing, chasing each other around out in the deeper water

- A few blue herons in flight, not so numerous just yet, but should be close behind the many seagulls attracted to the spawning mummichogs, menhaden and other little minnows

- Many Turkey Vultures and crows attracted to the Osprey leftovers, and other larger fish washing up

- The Poison Ivy is peeking its shiny, reddish leaves out, ready to pounce