Days of bright sunshine drying fields for cultivation

April 9, 2021

Observations: The last week of March brought typical coastal whipsaw weather. High that week was 86 degrees. Low was 34. On the whole, warmer than average. Average temperature for the last week in March in Sussex County is 47 degrees. This year the average was 62 degrees.

Rainfall? Amazingly average in March but still wet overall for 2021. According to AccuWeather statistics, March brought us a total of 4.35 inches of rain. Normal for March is 4.36 inches. For the year, though, we’re about two inches of rain above normal. Call that February. So far in Sussex we’ve felt 13.13 inches of rain compared to the normal average of 10.99 inches at this point of the year.

Delmarva farmers have been a little slower getting into their fields for spring cultivation because of the wet ground, but abundant sunshine in the last couple of weeks has sprouted more tractors crawling across the landscape.

In the Inland Bays, people are baiting their crab pots and trotlines. Crabs that dug into the mud in the early winter first start re-emerging in the coastal bays of the peninsula where shallow waters warm the bottom more quickly.

John heard a report from Herring Creek in Rehoboth Bay of a dozen and a half crabs taken in a pot.

On the Chesapeake side of Delmarva, watermen have put away their tongs and dredges, and are switching gears from oystering to crabbing. Boatloads of crab pots can be seen heading out into the main stem of the bay for early deployment.

The 2020 crabbing season in Chesapeake and Delaware bays put smiles on the faces of many watermen and their families. Decent numbers of crabs and strong prices. Hopes are high for another strong season, especially with the coronavirus picture improving and along with it the economy.

Birding report

Ospreys have returned in strong numbers. They’re building new nests, feathering old ones, preparing for the 2021 brood. Nature is also performing her magic with the plumage of goldfinches. The males and females have been garbed in dull browns for the winter. But with the days lengthening and temperatures rising, feathers of the males are transforming into the brilliant yellow-gold that gives the birds their name.

When the Dutch first began settling in the Lewes area in the mid-1600s, they named the creek that nowadays empties the Great Marsh into the waters of Broadkill River at Roosevelt Inlet. They called it Canarikill, which translates roughly as Canary Creek. Historical evidence indicates that they named it such because of the numerous goldfinches of the area that reminded them of tropical canaries.

I’ll be heading south this weekend to help retrieve a friend’s boat from Charleston and bring her north to her new home in the Chesapeake. Flying straight into the teeth of spring.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

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