Posted on June 15, 2010 | Permalink
Location: Coastal Bays
Marylandís fishery service working with the Maryland Coastal Bays Program and several volunteers do an annual survey of horseshoe crabs spawning in the Maryland coastal bays. This week we saw a large number of horseshoe crabs spawning in Maryland, and worked with a Fish and Wildlife Service volunteer to tag a few. Mr. Dick Arnold, Carol Cain, and Brad Stevens tagged about 200 horseshoe crabs with our help, and Mr. Arnold shot a few pictures I would like to share with you all.
One of the Islands on which the horseshoe crabs spawn is also a rookery for many species of shorebirds including herons, gulls, ducks, skimmers, terns, and oyster catchers. The past few years we have noticed the numbers of oyster catchers nesting on the Island beginning to increase. However, for the past three years or more there were no terns or skimmers nesting on the Island. This year we have been blessed by a large number of Royal Terns and Black Skimmers nesting on the Island. As you can see from the pictures there is a large number of Royal Terns with eggs strewn about, and there are approximately two dozen Black Skimmers that are nesting on the Island as well. What amazes me is that the whole Atlantic population of Black Skimmers is less than 2000 birds!
The eggs are just starting to hatch for these nesters and letís hope the relatively calm weather we have enjoyed this spring keeps up. The past two years a northeaster in the spring has wreaked havoc on these nesters, but conditions have been much more favorable for the birds this year. These birds have some great coloration and I look forward to seeing them each year. The Black skimmers are my particular favorite as they often accompany me in the evenings when I am fishing off the rocks in and near the inlet in downtown Ocean City. They skim the water with their beaks open and snatch the fish from the air off the water- too cool. They are much better fishers than I, but I still try, and enjoy watching them score even if I donít!
Posted on June 10, 2010 | Permalink
Black Sea Bass
Location: Ocean City
The black sea bass fishing has been spectacular this year since the opening on May 22nd. We have seen the best catches we have seen in years off the Maryland coast. I recently went on two head boat trips in early June and had a fantastic time on both trips. The fish have been better quality than we have seen in a while. The last few days the fish have gotten a little more finicky as they begin to spawn. But from day to day they really turn on some days still.