Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fantasy Trail @ Cape Henlopen State Park

As a child and as an adult my favorite bedtime ritual is a good read... always better with pictures!  As an adult I read books of mythology and as a child I inhaled Fairy Tale books with illustrations.  I remember the heart-breaking moment my Mom announced to me that there were no pictures in the evening's bedtime read! Devastating! 
As a 3rd year returning volunteer at Cape Henlopen State Park's Fantasy Trail, I  am the Illustration and The Story!  This annual event is now one of the highlight's of my Beach Season.
The Fantasy Trail is a 1/3rd mile trail, candlelit by hundreds of carved pumpkins and populated by "my" childhood fairy tale friends: Alice in Wonderland and The Mad Hatter, Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and tales from my son's era: Willy Wonka, Aladdin and Jasmine!
My character is truly the "Real Me" from my days entertaining my two year old, now in exaggerated format as "Disco-Era-Psycho-Stay-At-Home-Mom! 
I wear a wig of pouffy pink and black, glamour makeup, Halloween jewelry worn every which way, a proper starched and printed half apron, and a jogging suit!  This year I added in a magic strobe light "microphone" and a Tyrannosaurus Rex finger puppet worn on my thumb.  
My role is "Crazy Greeter".  I work the crowd while preparing them for the trail fun ahead.  Over my two nights gig I greeted, announced, and danced for ~ 2000 people!
You can not imagine my delight as I drove up to the trail head at the Nature Center and I was waved into the "VIP" Parking Lot by the Fort Miles World War II Re-enactor Officer!   Instantly I was in form!  
Every encounter is an opportunity for silliness.
Old men and even a Ferret got kisses on the cheek by my Tyrannosaurus Rex!
Little children got to announce their names louder and louder over my magic strobe.
I soothed scared kids promising them a "silly trail" and promised a "spooky trail" to the older kids who wished for such.
My purest delight is "running the trail" just minutes before it starts or before it ends...... as I run thru I am again a wee-one "reading the pictures".....  the costumed characters, backdrops and music.......... I become, I am the Story and The Fairy Tale.  

Beach Blessings,

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Small Kitchen Stories: Jazz Fest & Cream of Crab Soup

Rehoboth Jazz Fest weekend I took in the afternoon and evening concerts.  Beddy-bye time was near midnight.  Breakfast was Dewey Beach-late-late morning...... and then I ran off to the 1 PM concert.  
By the time the concert was over, heading back to my beach shack for lunch I was starved.  I need a good soothing,  hot and comforting meal as the entire weekend we were in a double North East'r storm.  But lunch could not be too heavy as it would be time soon enough to catch dinner before the evening 9PM concert!  
As I pulled out of my parking spot I figured it out!  I went into Rehoboth Seafood for Cream of Crab Soup!  I bought a pint.
The soup is incredibly rich and stuffed full of crab.  Way too rich as is.... and just right for "playing with" ;-)
Jazz Fest Cream of Crab Soup for Lunch and Dinner Too!

Cream of Crab Soup
Chopped tomato
Minced scallions
 Mushroom slices

Just heat all of the above together until the soup is steaming hot and the tomato, mushrooms and scallions are softened.

For Lunch: eat as is!
For Dinner: heat again and pour over crusty bread slices.

Dessert: Fifer's Caramel Walnut Apple Pie slices!

Ta Da!

Beach Blessings,

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rehoboth Beach Jazz Fest 2009: World Class, Baby!

This was my third year attending The Rehoboth Beach Jazz Fest.  Each year I am astounded.  It leaves me hyperventilating.  It takes me more than a month to calm down.  Why?
The live music performances are World Class, baby, and the venue is not even 2 miles from my beach shack!  ( Of course, I drive over 200 miles one-way just to be at my beachy-shack ).   World Class Jazz in the almost-sleepy resort of Rehoboth...... who pays attention?  Mostly Jazz lovers hailing from Baltimore, Wilmington, and the greater Wash. D.C. area, and yes, the locals too.  
Listen up World: Be JEALOUS: our Jazz Fest sizzles and steams.  It is the biggest music festival secret around. 
"This Economy", the Panic of 2008, The Recession did not even touch the ticket sales.  Most of the concerts were sold out!  Live music Feeds The Soul and one must put food on the Soul's Table.  People bought the tickets.
I took in the following concerts: Jason Miles and the Soul Summit 2, Jazz Attack, and Brian Culbertson.
Jason Miles: always puts on a production and the Soul Summit was smooth, sensual, and fun! Richard Elliot on the Saxophone gifted us with profound moments.  We stood up and "Woah-ed" in utter disbelief!
Jazz Attack brought back Richard Elliot, with Rick Braun and Jonathan Butler and their back up musicians. Their most urbane-urban jazz was sexy, smoking hot.  And they entertained too!
Brian Culbertson: I should say first that he is a freaking keyboard GENIUS Virtuoso, but I wanted to say first that he is Rock Star gorgeous and plays the role too! His 10 piece back up group are as fine as Brian ;-)  
Brian's gig on the keyboard, trombone and drums was "Bringing Back The Funk": his rock star emotional-physicality, played and wound  the smooth jazz beats, around and into "The Funk", funky rhythms.  We were on our feet, begging and screaming for more and more.
I also took in a "non" official Jazz Fest concert of Deanna Bogart at Dewey Beach's Rusty Rudder.  Deanna is a local favorite and did not dissapoint playing two sets, serving up her Great White Woman brings home Great Big Slabs of Juicy and Crunchy N'awlins Boogie-Woogie Blues!
Sunday Night many of the Jazz attendees and musicians poured into The Forgotten Mile's "The Just in Thyme" restaurant for drinks, mostly drinks, and an informal jazz session headed by keyboard virtuoso David Zipse.
Our small town loves Jazz and Jazz Loves Being At The Beach!

Beach Blessings,


Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Big Sit and Hawk Wach

For the 2009 Cape Henlopen's "Big Sit" I promised myself I'd be a proper "Birder" and arrive on site for the 3:30 AM start.   Or I'd show for the 5:30 AM Dawn Watch. Or.... ? ;-)
  In the middle of the night I turned off my alarm.  I did awake at 8 AM and was at the Hawk Watch/Big Sit platform by 10:00AM! :-) So civilized!!!
I put off "Birding" for decades as I have no interest to be outside at DAWN!  But when I discovered the best Seashore Birding is at low tide..... say show up at noon...... or that Raptors do lift-off at ~ 10 AM....... then a Birder I became! 
Glorious beautiful weather with perfect-for-Raptors NNE winds graced us after the blustery front moved out making all Birders beyond gleeful.
The Hawk Watch platform was lush with glorious and delicious food offerings which added to the celebratory and record day of bird/raptor sightings.
This year, now having lost the opera glass optics and gained Nikon's Monarch 8 x 42,  I had the glass and knew enough "Birds" to appreciate fully the show! 
 I could not have asked for more fun "Birdy" companions! 
I copy below Forrest Rowland's official account which was posted on DE Birds List.


Observation start time: 05:00:00

Observation end   time: 18:00:00

Total observation time: 13 hours

Official Counter: Forrest Rowland

Observers: Bruce Lantz, Jeff Gordon, Sharon Lynn, Susan Gruver


Over 70 visitors out to join in the Big Sit! with many of them staying for hours....so much fun today!!! Matt Sarver, Lauren Morgens, and Jeff Gordon were there from the 3:30am start. Sharon Lynn, Sally O'Byrne, and Michael and Diane Kane came up at 5:30am. From 8am on it was a fairly steady stream of people including Colin Campbell, Bruce Peterjohn, Bruze Lantz, Liz and Lew Dumont, Ruth Draper, Jim Leach, Rachel Shapiro, Rob Schroeder, Andy

Urdqhart....too many familiar names to list all, or fit into the observer column. A fantastic crowd, with our friends Melody and Martin from Maryland being the last visitors to close out the day with us.


Clear and Sunny with high cirrus clouds much of the day, the light NNE

winds provided great weather for a hawk flight.

Raptor Observations:

More records broken! Bald Eagle single-day count record now stands at 36.

Single day Cooper's Hawk record is now 166. Another outstanding day, and

with so many people there to enjoy the spectacle! Many birds were right

overhead at varying heights.

Non-raptor Observations:

97 species recorded for the Big Sit! Best birds included Lark Sparrow

(which ended up coming 15 feet from us), White-winged Scoter, and

Orange-crowned Warbler. FOS birds for the platform yesterday were Brant,

Blue-headed Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler, Lark Sparrow, Yellow-bellied

Sapsaucker, Brown Creeper, Swamp Sparrow, and White-throated Sparrow.>>

Beach Blessings,


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Small Kitchen Stories: Salmon Lox and Veggy Saute!

Sunday Night and I was beyond hungry and yet again too tired to cook.  I was desperate for a good dinner....... but had very little to work with....... and needed to use up supplies as it is time to clear out the fridge for Winter cottage-close up.
I had a packet of good Salmon Lox, a small zucchini, a few scallions, a tomato, and sour cream.  Ah, ha!  I figured it out.

Make Couscous, instant type.  I used 1/2 cup dry and 1/2 cup boiling water.  Add a bit of butter and let sit.

Chop the zucchini, scallions, and tomato
Chop the Lox.  Put in a small bowl with a dollop of sour cream.

Heat the skillet and saute all except the tomato to get some color.  Add in the tomato.
Turn off the heat.  Add in the lox/sour cream combo.
Heat on low until the lox turns opaque.

Serve on the dinner plate beside the Couscous.
Dessert was a slice of fig and apple pie!!!!

TA DA!  

Monday, October 12, 2009

Greyhounds Reach The Beach and Get Wed Too!

Do you dream of getting married on the beach?  I do. And so do Greyhounds and their owners. And thus they did!
When Greyhounds Reach The Beach @ Dewey Beach, my goal is: how many can I pet? :-)
My Saturday Evening beach walk started out with nary a Greyhound in sight for a pet.  I was sad and contemplated going into Rehoboth just to find the pets!
While on Read Street my luck turned: I saw a gathering crowd of Greyhounds and Owners.  Soon I lost count of how many hounds I was petting....... but then I started to notice the fancy retro-1940's hat and dress party atmosphere.  The dogs in costume.... not the owners!!!
 I was informed to put on my manners for a Double Greyhound Wedding!  Two Grooms in Military Dress!  Two Brides in flowing white chiffon! Flower Girls and a Wedding Party all in fancy gowns and tux's and swish-swishing tails.
When the Minister of Ceremonies asked if any Man or Dog should object to the wedded union......... indeed five minutes of sad-dog-houndy-hound-ing-moaning and yelping ensued! 
The ceremony did continue despite the objections and upon completion everyone clapped and the hounds barked!
After the ceremony, one of the grooms lost his manners and pissed on the Bride Maid of Honor's pink chiffon gown!  Time to forget the faux-pas and party-on!  This is Dewey Beach!
A Wedding Cake and Grey Houndy-treat Reception followed at the near-by motel's pool-side.

Beach Blessings

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Musical Succoth with Pizza!

If I can arrive at Seaside Jewish Community in time for Shabbat services...... my evening is made. 
 This time it was even better with Grotto Pizza ordered-in for dinner, Pizza In The Hut, The Succoth Hut! Afterwards we had the Succoth Service in the hut as the evening winds blew about.... gently swaying the structure.  One gust blew into the entrance and did a heave-ho, but the Succoth hut remained sound :-)
For certain prayers we needed to face East.  I was in disbelief when 75% of the worshippers knew not the direction of East!  As in the direction of  THE OCEAN not even 2 miles away!!!! How can you live at The Beach and not know this? 
 Ok, we will excuse Dewey Beach members... as no one awakes to witness the ocean sunrise, maybe awake for High Noon, yes.
A lovely Oneg social followed and then on home I went to take in the Dewey Beach Music Conference. (See the preceding Blog posting).
I took notice that I was continuing the celebration of Succoth by wandering from one Musical Hut to another!  No other way to describe the Dewey Beach venues other than Huts!

Beach Blessings,

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dewey Beach Music Conference and Brother Joscephus!

I love beyond measure The Dewey Beach Music Conference invasion!   ~ 150 bands arrive to play at ~ 7 venues, with ~ 12 stages! The music industry scouts and booking agents do daytime workshops and mentoring.  For the general public there is no cover charge to take in the performances!
Our tiny town, not even 2 miles long is utterly given over to the event.  Walk the town and live original music is found at every step.  Fun moments are easy to find.
  ~ 12 midnight at The Grotto ( pizza shop) I saw a Mississippi Delta Blues group playing...... as it was well lighted and perfect for videoing. Patrons were in adoration mode.
One of the best people watching events of the season, I adore tracking the fashion.  This year the rockstar's girlfriends gave up their hippie Boho skirts and dresses, boots...... as in-oh -so-2008, for 2009's very skinny, dark wash jeans, shiny and seductive stilettos and sky-high platforms.  For both guys and dolls, shiny, long flowing hair was the favorite accessory.  "Brittish Invasion" style was heavily favored.
I started out at the Bottle and Cork...... two stages set up...... and on the bigger stage, took in "Roman Traffic" working progressive rock with atmospheric trance rhythms. 
I give a group 30 seconds..... and if I am not entranced, then off I go to the next venue....the next group did not make the cut.... I was off to the Rusty Rudder.
Out on the deck I was WOW-WOWED by "Brother Joscephus and The Love Revival Revolution Orchestra".  This group delivered the tunes and entertained! 
Hang with me for the descriptors:  top-speed smooth jazz gone N'awlins Gospel Revival, with the 80's "Village People" gone to Mardi Gras Party down in N-e-w O-r-leans!  
The group wore only white, pink and purple, campy costumes, and were loaded down with Mardi Gras beads which of course were flung into the crowd.
The keyboard player, wearing head to toe white tails, wore a King's Crown of Purple. 
Most bizarre was that he wore white gloves...... not a trace of humanity, ( no skin ), touched the keyboard...... thus the performance was otherworldly.  No trance rhythms here but the music and visuals transported!
And oh-how-I-loved-it when Brother J announced: Ladies, if you do not have a man, then one will be provided for you!
I provide a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzOaypb1s74
Needless to say the crowd pressed upon the stage and went half crazy when the set was over....... as the next group was up!
 A classic Dewey Beach evening!  

Friday, October 2, 2009

Smithsonian Article: DE's Red Knots Re-Sighting Program

Smithsonian Article: 
DE's Red Knots Re-Sighting Program
How I spent my Sunday's May 2009!

Hmmn: looks like the big picture of the Red Knot taking flight is Not a Knot but a Short-Billed Dowitcher! 


"What I did this Summer" or Beachnester Final Summary 2009 via DE's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program

Beachnester Final Summary 2009

October 2, 2009

Piping Plover

The piping plover 2009 nesting season was generally successful, although there is plenty of good habitat at Cape Henlopen State Park that could support more pairs of nesting plovers as the years progress. There are also other sites that have suitable habitat for plover nesting.  These sites will continue to be monitored. Also, in 2009, productivity for the plovers was fairly good, although an increase in numbers of chicks fledged is a reasonably attainable goal for future seasons.


There were ten pairs of piping plovers nesting at Cape Henlopen this season, which matches our record high from 2008.  From these pairs, 13 chicks fledged, a vast improvement over our fledge numbers in 2008 (3 chicks fledged) but just short of the record high number of chicks fledged (14 chicks in 2003).  As has been the case in recent years, Cape Henlopen is the only place in Delaware where piping plovers nested in 2009.


Least Terns

Least terns had another tough year breeding in Delaware.  It has been over five years since least terns have been observed to have fledged chicks in Delaware.  This season, four small colonies of least terns established in Delaware.  Two were at Cape Henlopen, one was at South Bowers Beach and one was at Fowlers Beach.  All told, there were just under 20 pairs of least terns nesting in Delaware this year.  A combination of frequent floods associated with tidal surges and predation caused the failures of the least tern colonies.


American Oystercatcher

American oystercatchers nested on shores of the Delaware and Inland Bays and at Cape Henlopen on the Atlantic Coast.  Due to the remote nature of the nesting sites on the Delaware and Inland Bays, attaining solid data on nest success was not possible with the level of staffing currently available, although oystercatcher chicks were observed on Middle Island which is just west of the Indian River Inlet.


The two oystercatcher pairs nesting at Cape Henlopen were closely monitored while staff was in the process of monitoring piping plovers.  One of these pairs lost their nest to overwash at Gordons Pond.  The second pair hatched their two chicks out on the tip of the Point.  The chicks were observed for about ten days and then disappeared.  Their fate is unknown, but it is not thought they reached fledge age.


Seabeach Amaranth

The federally listed seabeach amaranth grows in the same kinds of habitat in which plovers nest (i.e. sparsely vegetated dune slopes and overwashes).  This year about 40 amaranth plants were found at Cape Henlopen.  Unfortunately, frequent tidal surges (including powerful waves sent our way courtesy of Hurricane Bill) washed out all but two of the plants.  On the encouraging side, some of the plants that were washed out were able to set seed before being lost.

Despite thorough searches at all of the coastal state parks and at possible sites on the Delaware Bay, no amaranth was found outside of the boundaries of Cape Henlopen State Park this year.  Typically, the stretch of beach between Tower Road and Key Box Road at Delaware Seashore State Park hosts amaranth.  Although no amaranth were found there this season, seeds can persist in the sand for many years and it is likely that amaranth will be found there again in future years.


If anyone has any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.



Matthew Bailey

Wildlife Biologist

Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program

Phone: (302) 382-4151