They’re baaacckkk….

Well, they never really left.

Ghost crabs spend their winters right here in North Cape May, snuggled a few feet under the beach in their burrows, waiting for spring.

You get through winter several feet under the sand. You greet living again after a long months in your dark wintry tomb. And then you keel over at your doorstep as the sun sets, again, on your patch of Earth. There’s a lesson here.

If the beach is not crowded and you sit real still (their eyeballs work real well), you can see them going ghost crabby things during the day.

Enjoy their company and try not to step on their doorways. They’re locals, after all.

Dogs, drones, and the Delaware Bay

According to today’s AC Press, The LTPD recently acquired a new drone at the cost of $17,425–it must have come with some extras, or we overpaid.

Ad for the Matrice 30 series drone.

The mayor has taken “capture everything” to heart, and plans to use the drone to patrol the bay looking for “people who allow their dogs to off leash” in an effort to save our officers time.

Maybe Mayor Sippel should ask us which we prefer–putting up with the occasional ( and usually well-trained) off leash doggie or some five-figure eye-in-the-sky buzzing away as we (attempt to) enjoy serenity along the bay’s edge.

A drone-free evening on the edge of the Delaware Bay.

Having an officer stroll along the beach without the high tech would better serve all of us, a gentle reminder that there’s a human under that uniform.

And for those who occasionally nurse an ale or two, be forewarned. First they came after the dogs, then they came after the Dogfish. Heads.

Beach walk January 22, 2023

The bay has settled down a bit–still wild, of course, always wild, but behaving today.

Scott Avenue entrance to the beach

January is rough on local humans but it is devastating to much of the rest of the living around here.

These guys (Hemigrapsus sanguineus, or Asian shore crab) first showed up around 1988–you can find them all over now, and apparently they are as edible (shell and all)as they are damaging to the native species.

Asian shore crab–a tasty menace

Gannets are usually seen in the spring and fall. Their fluorescent white wings tipped with deep black are marvelous, rivaled by their unreal blue beaks, usually only seen up-close in death.

The bright red of blood, the ghostly white feathers, and the stunning blue beak look out of place on the dull wintry beach.

A vulture feasted on yet another dead bird, now beyond identifying. The vulture sulked as I approached, took a low flight around me, then returned to its carcass as I was leaving.

The days are lengthening again, and the beaches will be filled with humans again soon enough. For now the sand pipers and the herring gulls rule the roost.

Crocuses, again

We live in paradise, true, but the dark of winter can be tough anywhere.

Less than a mile from the bay a crocus erupts from the January ground, arcing towards the late afternoon sun sinking towards the edge of the bay,

The bay has been here for millions of years, and will be for millions more. A human less than a century, a crocus less than half a decade.

But right now,, here in North Cape May, we’re all here for a moment.

Summer solstice in North Cape May

The strawberries fade out as the blueberries arrive.

The sunsets have finished their journey northward, inching their way further and further right since the start of winter. Light is at its peak.

Dead horseshoe crabs litter the beach after their last full moon frenzy. All 10 eyes of this one are dark now, its last sunset passed a day or two ago.

The tides will continue to rise and fall as the sun hesitates a few days then starts its journey back towards the ferry jetty.

The light has peaked, the days slowly darken again.