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Rare black rail bird spotted in southern Delaware salt marshes

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Rare black rail bird spotted in southern Delaware salt marshes


Throughout those years, Christopher Hecksher, a professor of environmental science at Delaware State University, immersed himself in surveying the park’s wildlife, expanding the understanding of its biodiversity. He would collect nighttime recordings and then work to differentiate the diverse chirps and sounds to aid in species identification.

“I did a survey over the last couple of years primarily to try to determine the presence or absence of the black rail, which is a very rare and secretive marsh-inhabiting bird,” he said. “At the same time, I was attempting to document other secretive birds that aren’t easily observed on the preserve.”

In addition to the black rail, Hecksher was successful in finding some of those other shy species that like to hang out in high salt marshes, known as brackish marshes.

“On the recordings, we did hear pied-billed grebe, American bittern, common gallinule. We did hear sora, which is another closely related rail.”

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They also identified clapper rail, king rail and Virginia rail in the marsh.

Hecksher noted a test like this had never been done before. He said it’s crucial work due to the potential threat to species like the black rail. The find could result in increased protection measures for such endangered species.

“[The black rails] were not listed as federally endangered but they were listed as federally threatened, which is the highest level in terms of protection,” he said. “The Eastern population of black rail did warrant some federal oversight in the sense of, it could in the future — if we don’t manage our wetlands properly or if climate change accelerates that sort of thing — it could be in danger of becoming extinct.”



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Delaware

Bear spotted in Newark, Delaware backyard

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Bear spotted in Newark, Delaware backyard


NEWARK, Delaware (WPVI) — Residents in Newark, Delaware should be on the lookout for a bear in the area.

An Action News viewer captured video of the animal in her backyard along Julie Lane near Barksdale Estates around 8 p.m. Saturday night.

You can see the bear walk onto the deck before walking off back toward the woods.

Police say there were multiple bear sightings in that area.

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State Police Detectives Investigating Shooting on I-95 in New Castle – Delaware State Police – State of Delaware

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State Police Detectives Investigating Shooting on I-95 in New Castle – Delaware State Police – State of Delaware


Date Posted: Sunday, June 23rd, 2024

Delaware State Police are investigating a shooting that occurred early Saturday morning on I-95 near Exit 141 in New Castle.

On June 22, 2024, at approximately 1:13 a.m., troopers were called for a shooting where one man was shot. Troopers learned that a 35-year-old male victim was taken to a local hospital for non-life-threatening gunshot wound to his upper back shoulder.

A preliminary investigation revealed the victim was a passenger of a white Hyundai Sonata. At approximately 1:06 a.m., as the Sonata merged onto I-95 northbound, an unknown light-colored sedan with dark tinted windows and bright fluorescent headlights drove directly next to it. The suspect pointed a gun and shot at the Sonata three times before fleeing the area on I-95 northbound.

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Delaware State Police Troop 2 Criminal Investigations Unit is continuing its investigation and urges anyone who may have witnessed the shooting or has relevant information to contact Detective J. Gliem at (302) 365-8427. Information may also be provided by sending a private Facebook message to the Delaware State Police or contacting Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-847-3333.

If you or someone you know is a victim or witness of a crime or have lost a loved one to a sudden death and need assistance, the Delaware State Police Victim Services Unit / Delaware Victim Center is available to offer you support and resources 24 hours a day through a toll-free hotline at 1-800-VICTIM-1 (1-800-842-8461). You may also email the Victim Services Unit at DSP_VictimServicesMail@delaware.gov.

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Sussex County's James Farm Ecological Preserve adding educational campus

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Sussex County's James Farm Ecological Preserve adding educational campus


From Philly and the Pa. suburbs to South Jersey and Delaware, what would you like WHYY News to cover? Let us know!

One of the 28 nationally recognized estuaries, the James Farm Ecological Preserve sits in the coastal region of Delaware’s Sussex County, where freshwater meets saltwater in a dynamic estuarine environment. The preserve provides a wild oasis with seven diverse habitats, ranging from sandy beaches at low tide to salty marshes, shady forests and sunny meadows. It’s a favorite spot for schools, young children and environmentalists.

Last year, the preserve welcomed over 30,000 visitors for educational programs. The number of visitors looking to learn about the area continues to grow, highlighting the need for an educational facility.

One of the beaches along the trails of the James Farm Ecological Preserve. (Courtesy of the Delaware Center of Inland Bays)
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“We’ve done education at the whim of mother nature for 30 years now,” explained Christophe Tulou, executive director of the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays. Even without a dedicated center, the group has been committed to hosting educational programs, research and other activities despite challenging weather conditions.

This is why the park created a master plan in 2014, including the $2.5 million initiative that began construction in May.

“This will provide us with a three-season sheltered space for educating children as well as adults through our education programming,” he said. “So when the thunderstorm strikes we are not in the middle of it, we’ll have shelter overhead and lab space and video capabilities.”

“[It will] allow us to provide the education and do the outreach that we do there in a way that people these days can relate to with all the technological bells and whistles that are so important to get information across,” he added.



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