E.A. Vaughn WMA

Miles Island and Breeding Blood Worms

July 4th, 2018 was sunny and pleasant so we set out to paddle two of our favorite spots:  Miles Island and Pikes Creek.  Launching from Taylor’s Landing near Girdletree, Maryland we began the two-mile paddle to Miles Island.  What a pleasant day for a paddle!  Approaching the western beaches on Miles Island we began to notice something strange in the water.

20180704_122323_Approaching Miles Island

Approaching the western side of Miles Island

As the water depth shrank to a few feet the water came alive with thousands of writhing red worms.  Each red worm was 2-3 inches long, looked pinkish in the water, and they filled the water. Inadvertently we stumbled upon the mid-summer reproductive season of blood worms.  Blood worms spend most of their time feeding in silty or sandy bottoms of inter-tidal areas but once a year they transform into a stage for breeding and swim to the surface.  On the surface both sexes release gametes into the water and then die.  This early July day found us paddling into this breeding frenzy and observing something new.

Interestingly, the worms disappeared from the water as we approached the beach.   Once onshore we spent time in the water to cooling and observing some of the large tidal pools in the area

It’s beginning to appear that Miles Island is slowly being cut in half.  This becomes readily apparent if you look at the topological map at the end of this blog post.  Perhaps a few more big storms will finish the job? This pleasant day provided lots to see;  picturesque feathers on the beach and big fluffy clouds low in the sky.

After wandering and exploring for a while we recrossed Johnson Bay and found the cut-over to Pikes Creek located near the mouth of Scarboro Creek. Skittish turtles sat on the muddy banks and dove into the water before we could get close all along this gut.

20180704_140450_Turtles along Pikes Creek

Skittish turtles along Pikes Creek

This particular day the bird count in the wide areas of Pikes Creek was low, however it was still a beautiful day to paddle around for a while and enjoy the beautiful rippled clouds before returning to Taylor’s Landing.


20180704_194905_GPS Topo Map

Directions: At the intersection of 113 and 12 in Snow Hill turn south on 12 to Girdletree, about 5 miles. Entering Girdletree, turn left on Box Iron Rd. Go to stop sign, bear left and then stay to the right. Road dead ends at Taylor’s Landing.

Services: Port a john is in the parking lot. There are no services in Girdletree. Stores, restaurants etc. are in Snow Hill.

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