Sampling at the Dogfish Head tasting room.

The trip to Delaware was great. Our friends Scooter and Erinn came with us again this year. We did most of the things that we like to do every year like visit the Dogfish Head Brewery for some sampling and souvenirs, and lunch on Sunday at the Dogfish Head Brewpub in Rehoboth. The beer was good and, as always, interesting.

The actual counting of horseshoe crab hung in the balance as a large storm front was sliding up the coast from the south. The count was to start at 10:35 and at 10:10 there were a few bolts of lightening visible to the west and we really weren’t sure if we should go ahead with the count. We waited about 10 minutes and decided to go for it. The protocol was a little different this year – same number of samples, but only a half a Kilometer instead of a full one. We thought this was due to hurricane and storm damage to the beaches, but we saw very little change from previous years. Good news, but we don’t know why the protocol changed.

Counting horseshoe crabs

The grid used to count Horseshoe crabs

As we started the numbers were very low – mostly zeros in our measurement grid, but by the halfway point the crabs seemed to start to show up. We finished in only about 30 or 40 minutes, which is about half the time it has taken in past years. In the middle of the count, the sky opened up and it poured and we all got pretty wet. It was cool, so being rained on was not so much fun, but we all had our rain gear, so we were ok.

This was our tenth trip, and we are already looking forward to next year. The Nature Conservancy recently published an article about the census and the volunteers who help with it each year. Joni was interviewed for the article.