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Dr. Dre

Dre at Work

I also had the pleasure recently of meeting Dre. No, not Dr. Dre. But when Dre told me his name, that's how I remembered it--by associating it with the name of the famous rapper and producer. From Compton. I'd call Dre a master crabber. Boy was he good, not to mention that he seemed like a great guy.  Dre crabbing in Elizabeth River creek

When I arrived on the scene (same general area where I saw the night heron perched on a tire, and the otter), he'd already caught 2 dozen blue crabs, and was busy trying to catch more. He had his lines, nets and baskets, his bait (chicken parts), a large blue cooler--and choreographed smooth moves. He was prepared, and obviously knew what he was doing. I drove past that spot the following day. And guess what. Dre was at it again, but was joined this time by many others, including some from North Carolina. 

Dre crabbing in Elizabeth River creek  Dre crabbing in Elizabeth River creek  Dre crabbing in Elizabeth River creek Dre crabbing in Elizabeth River creek


Another Chapter

We could call this another chapter of the story of the health, not to mention the importance, of the Elizabeth River. Dre wouldn't have been crabbing in a toxic environment. He told me the water was usually pretty clear, and that he regularly sees catfish, white perch and other species. And the blue crabs? Had the environment been toxic there, THEY wouldn't have been there either. The blue crab is an indicator species. We could call it 'the canary in the tributary.' The blue crab is also a keystone species like the Osprey and many others. It's an integral part of the river food web.

Let's add to the chapter of the story. Here's another fellow (I think of our kayaker from the last blog) enjoying an outing on the Elizabeth. (Dre was enjoying an outing IN the Elizabeth.) He had all his equipment as well--fishing tackle, etc. Plus--he had a boat. He wasn't far from the new Dominion Boulevard Veteran's Bridge.


kayaker fishing in Elizabeth River
kayaker fishing


I wrote the following in the last blog: 'What we consider no man's lands, birds and other wildlife often seem to consider suitable habitat. It's as if they were oblivious.'
This may not be a no man's land, but it IS an old rusty WARNING PETROLEUM PIPELINE sign--in several languages.

  dragonfly and snails on rusty sign

The sign is on the banks of Scuffletown Creek in Chesapeake (a former dump site that the Elizabeth River Project has had a hand in cleaning up--and now a great place to bird). The sign may be old and rust-eaten, yet look at the wildlife here!

  close-up of dragonfly and snails on rusty sign close-up of dragonfly on rusty sign

We'll add these (whatever they are) to our Elizabeth River 'critters list.'

Speaking of signs, here's a really great sign: a ranging, hungry Great Egret making a landing in that creek.

Great Egret landing in Scuffletown Creek
Great Egret


We'll wrap things up with a few more bird photos. I consider these somewhat lucky. I'll freely admit that many of my shots are just that, and that I'm still learning as I slowly make my way up the shallow bird photography learning curve. This is a Great Blue Heron that flew past me as I stood on the bank of the Elizabeth not far from the Veteran's Bridge.


Great Blue Heron in flight
Great Blue Heron


I love the colors, and of course, love the profile. The next photo, taken from the dock at the Preserve on the Elizabeth, is that of a Royal Tern. I love its profile as well. It had flown by me earlier with a crab in its beak. (A blue crab??) 


Royal Tern hunting
Royal Tern


Consider the tern's profile for a moment. Unlike gulls, generally smaller and more streamlined terns usually fly with their beaks pointed toward the water, where their food sources are. Here's something  else about the tern. As is true of so many our birds, the Royal Tern breeds here--usually right along the coast and on barrier islands--but heads south for the winter. Some winter in the Carolinas and points south, but most head to the West Indies. Wait a minute. Come to think of it--wouldn't YOU like to head to the West Indies every winter as well? Well I sure would!

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