The Eagles Have Landed
Thanks to endangered-species protections, growing numbers of this majestic raptor are nesting in Delaware again
The bald eagles are back! In honor of their dramatic return from the brink of extinction, Gov. Jack Markell has proclaimed that henceforth June 20 will be known as “American Eagle Day” in Delaware.
In fact, eagles are one of the major success stories of the Endangered Species Act. It wasn’t so long ago that they were listed as threatened in every state except Alaska. Credit for their recovery must go to the dogged efforts of many conservation organizations, both public and private; it was a truly impressive accomplishment.
We know from records from the early 1900s that there were once more than a thousand nesting pairs of eagles along the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware’s Atlantic coast, averaging one pair for every five miles of shoreline. Not that they were ever safe from harassment; a man named W. Stone wrote in a Delaware magazine of 1919 that “farmers with their usual antipathy to all birds of prey, make a practice of chopping down the eagle tree or of shooting the old birds.” Egg collecting was also a common practice of the time and eagles’ eggs were so highly prized that their nests were robbed with impunity. By 1940, the impact of such practices had become so serious that Congress passed The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, making it illegal to harm, harass or possess an eagle, alive or dead, as well as their eggs or feathers.
Inside the ‘Henlopen Triangle’
Science and mystery collide in the area’s long history of odd occurrences and strange sights
By George Contant and Michael A. Hamilton
From the Holiday 2015 issue
Unexplained oceanic explosions, freakish mirages, devastating storms in perfect weather, ships that disappear, eerie “electrical fogs,” mysterious sea creatures, UFOs … the list goes on. Such strange and seemingly paranormal occurrences have been reported all over planet Earth for centuries. Intrigued, people search for answers while science mocks or attempts to explain away these incidents. Still, they continue to challenge an unbelieving world.
Mike Hamilton, a fellow researcher of Cape Henlopen history, and I pride ourselves as being rational historians who always prefer to deal in fact. But, like the flat-earth theory of long ago, fact is relative to what we actually know at a given point in time. For hundreds of years, surviving ship captains and crews told of titanic waves that came from nowhere, destroying vessels as though they had been tossed over Niagara Falls. How many tellings did it take before science finally determined that rogue waves are real?
In With the New
Sales in the coastal real estate market are up and prices are holding steady, as a wealth of new construction competes with existing home offerings
In March 2014, Mike and Kate Dickinson decided to stop renting and buy a new home. They visited existing townhouses in Sawgrass South at White Oak Creek, located off Old Landing Road near Rehoboth, but the properties came with homeowner association fees the couple didn’t want to pay. They moved on to Breakwater, a new community off Gills Neck Road, outside Lewes. Worried about all the construction in that area — Gills Neck Road also is home to Senators, another new development, and the up-and-coming Showfield — they crossed that one off the list too.
They also toured existing homes that needed renovations to modernize the floor plan. But with a 7-month-old son and full-time jobs, they didn’t want that burden. Then they saw a house in Nassau Station, an established Lewes-area community with a mix of residents, from young families to seniors. The Dickinsons, who were married at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church downtown and have family in Lewes, decided that Nassau Station was the ideal neighborhood in which to raise a family. What’s more, the house had all the right stuff: an open floor plan, three bedrooms, 2 ½ baths and a fenced, landscaped backyard.
Unfortunately, another buyer felt the same way; the Dickinsons were outbid. As a result, they decided to build a custom home on a for-sale-by-owner lot in the same community. “We said: ‘Let’s get exactly what we want,’ ” Mike Dickinson says.