One of the best things about being a journalist is that it's OK to ask questions, and the answers often reveal people's true passions.
For example, at Saturday's Peace, Love & Horseshoe Crab Festival on Saturday, I was quite fortunate to strike up a conversation with Jacquie Clark on the deck of the DuPont Nature Center.
I learned Ms. Clark is an ornithologist from Great Britain who vacations in Slaughter Beach. It’s a working vacation, but obviously a labor of love to monitor and band migratory shorebirds for the Delaware Shorebird Project.
According to its website, since 2005 the Delaware Shorebird Project has conducted research and monitoring on the health and status of shorebird populations including Red Knot, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Dunlin and Semipalmated Sandpiper.
The program is currently managed by the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.
As Ms. Clark set up her binoculars on the center’s deck, she was willing to discuss her involvement with the project.
For her, it’s a treat since it gets her away from a desk and provides hands-on experience with the birds.
Believe it or not, this site in Delaware is unique.(As an aside which reveals some personal ignorance, when I was growing up Slaughter Beach was not a destination other than to have an under-age adult beverage with your friends.)
“There is nowhere else like this in the world. It’s an incredible site,” she said.
Nature provides abundant and necessary nutrition for the red knots who migrate from Tierra del Fuego in South America to breeding grounds in the Arctic.
While stopping here, they are able to feast on nutritious horseshoe crab eggs, within three to four weeks they have regained weight and move one.
In the Arctic, they dine on insects, including mosquitoes, Ms. Clark explained.
Once the chicks are hatched, they are able to pretty much fend for themselves, and the adults head back to South America.
That's the short version of this natural symphony. Scientists like Ms. Clark study the details to preserve this miracle for future generations, and that's why they vacation in Delaware.