DELMARVA ALMANAC

All Along The Spring Shorelines

by Dana Kester-McCabe

Spring is just about over here on Delmarva and that means that just about everywhere you look the landscape is dressed in its finest greenery.

Recently I had a great walk in Pemberton Park in Salisbury, Maryland. It was late afternoon and the place was quiet with few other visitors. The bugs weren't out much yet. Now if you go there you would probably need some repellant to be comfortable. The serene trails were lined with ferns and wild iris were blooming along the creek banks.

I saw a few small song birds and vultures, but the best wildlife picture was of this little broad nosed skink. After leaving the park and driving through what might be considered one of Salisbury's high rent districts, I came across this osprey nest - which seemed to fit right in with the neighborhood with its own lovely garden.

Across the area daisies and other wild flowers have been blooming for weeks including winter vetch and renegade wild roses along many roadsides. Mountain laurel which are native plants known to bloom biannually, are having a bumper year. Butterflies are starting to show up like this little Variegated Fritillary.

Water lilies are starting to bloom and frogs are out in full force. I saw a Northern water snake south of Pocomoke City near Hickory Point. At first I thought it was a black racer but when I got home and looked at the image up close I noticed his rings. A little help from Jim Rapp at the Lower Shore Herp Atlas helped with the proper identification. By the way, they are always looking for sightings of reptiles and amphibians. The variety and numbers of these species are good environmental indicators. You can help by visiting their webpage and letting them know what you have found in your lower Delmarva neighborhood.

Lower Shore Herp Atlas: http://www.salisbury.edu/lowershoreherpatlas/

Last week on a trip to Prime Hook in Delaware, eastern prickly pear cactus are blooming and willets could be seen on their nests. The variety of shore birds you can see here is really terrific. From a distance I saw Ruddy turnstones, and a Black bellied plover. Snowy egrets were abundant, as were gulls and a variety of terns including a nimble little Forster's tern.

But the Black Skimmers put on the best show that day. There was quite a large flock of them on the sand bar nearby. A few came very close to shore to snack on bait fish and show off their acrobatic skills.

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