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Cycle of Bay Life

May 29, 2021

 

Many of us in the Mid-Atlantic states are awestruck by the punctuality of the Brood X, 17 year locust.  Right on time, and as predicted, these little critters have been digging out of the earth, climbing trees, shedding their outer layer and beginning to sing before they nap again for 17 years.  That is their cycle.  Here on the Delaware Bay coast we have an approximately 365 day repeating cycle.  Horseshoe crabs come up from the deeps of the bay seeking a sandy beach to lay their eggs on.  They prefer spring tides (higher high and lower low tides that occur every two weeks with the full and new moon) when high water washes over the bay beaches.  I went out before sunrise today to photograph this spring tides’ crab orgy participants along with birds that time their arrival on Delaware Bay when plenty of horseshoe crab eggs are easily picked from the sand.  This morning the beach was predominantly populated with semi-palmated sandpipers who loved their visit with their crab friends.  After a couple of days the crabs will return to the deeper waters of the bay, not to be seen again until this time next year.  So goes the cycle.

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