Rainfall, phone ice, trail news and ospreys are back

March 15, 2013

One of the area’s most visible indicators of Sussex County’s water table is the pond next to Besche Furniture on Rt. 9 at Gravel Hill. For the first time in about three years, the pond is full again, with water stretching from shore to shore. The winter’s storms have helped recharge our water supplies. The mermaid there is almost getting her tail wet. The droughty years of recent times have allowed more grasses to get established in the pond, but the water level is definitely up.

February seemed like a wet and cold month to us, but looking at the numbers shows how accustomed we have become to warmer and drier Februarys. In the last week of February, for example, the normal average temperature is 38.9 degrees. This year that average was 40.4 degrees. As for rainfall? We had two inches in February this year, but in an average year, February brings us three inches of rain. For the first two months of 2013 we stood at 4.77 inches of rainfall compared to an average of 6.52 inches. All that said, this winter has still been colder and wetter than the winters of the previous two years. When thinking about weather, we don’t remember much beyond that.

Somebody asked me the other day whether I thought we would ever see the hard winters we saw when we were kids. What about three and four years ago when we were hammered back to back with some of the heaviest snowfalls I have seen in my life? Something about the human mind and what and how it remembers.

Put ICE in your phone

Lewes Fire Department sent out an ambulance subscription solicitation recently. All of the local fire and rescue squads send these fundraising letters from time to time, and it’s very important that we respond with whatever we can afford. The funds raised through these efforts are the lifeblood of our first responders’ efforts.

This particular letter included an interesting item that I just acted on and am passing along. ICE.

It stands for In Case of Emergency, and you put it in your cellphone along with a contact phone number for whoever you want contacted if your phone is found in an emergency situation. The ICE idea comes from East Anglian Ambulance Service paramedic Bob Brotchie, who often found himself at roadside crashes looking through the mobile phone contacts trying to find important information about a shocked or injured person.

The ICE advice is now spreading around the world. Jump on the bandwagon. Select new contact in your phone book, enter the word ICE, and add the phone number of who you want contacted in case of emergency. You’ll be done in less time than it took you to read this. Tell your kids too, if they didn’t already tell you. East Anglia, by the way, is part of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Gordons Pond trail link

One year from now, work should be nearly complete on the connecting trail between the Herring Point and Gordons Pond areas of Cape Henlopen State Park. Susan Moerschel, chief of planning for Delaware’s Division of Parks, said recently that design and engineering for the project are about 75 percent complete. She expects the project to go out to bid in July or August with construction beginning in the fall. The trail will harden the full length of the Gordons Pond Trail and link it with the system of trails in the northern section of Cape Henlopen State Park near the Herring Point and Naval Jetty parking area. In order to skirt a ridge of walking dunes north of Gordons Pond, the new linking trail will incorporate 2,600 feet of boardwalk across the park’s salt marshes. In conjunction with the Junction and Breakwater Trail west of the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal and the state park’s biking trail, the linking trail will create a loop trail of more than 20 miles anchored by Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. It is bound to become one of the most popular hiking and biking trails in the mid-Atlantic region.

The spring’s first osprey

Joe Scudlark emailed this week to report that nature still has its timing in synch. “Looks like our resident male osprey Ricky returned to his nest next to Roosevelt Inlet over the weekend. Right on schedule, as always.” Joe has a bird’s-eye view of the inlet from his office in the Cannon Building of University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment.

Between the reddening buds on swamp maples, the skunk cabbage coming out in the mires, daffodils unfolding and the familiar shrill cries of ospreys mixing in with the honking of Canada geese making plans to head northward, there are lots of signs of spring in the air.

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