We have had a very mild winter. That is good news for me. But even a mild winter still makes it hard to get outside to take hikes and see nature. This past weekend, it was simply gorgeous. The weather was warm and the sun was shinning. We decided to take a road trip to Delaware and enjoy Slaughter Beach.
I know the name sounds scary. But the beach is beautiful. The town, and beach, was founded in 1681. There is a lot of talk over how Slaughter beach truly got its name. Some old maps show a small creek named, Slaughter Creek, which flowed from through the marsh of Cedar Creek south and emptied into the Delaware bay just north of Prime Hook Beach. There is also a town called “Slaughter Neck”, Neck being a term that is used to describe upland areas between two key boundary areas. There is another theory is the first postmaster, whose last name was Slaughter, and the town was named for his locality.
There are 2 more colorful stories about how Slaughter Beach got its name. The most unsettling story of the beach’s name has to be of the Indians attacking early settlers in the area. When the leader of the settlers heard of the attack, the leader of the settlers arranged a meeting with the Indian Chief so the settlers’ “God” could “speak” to the Indians and there could be peace. So as the Indians gathered around a cannon, the Settlers’ “God”, the settlers fired the cannon and killed all of the Native Americans. It was the “Slaughter of the Indians.”
Most likely, or I would like to believe, the name of the town came from the horseshoe crabs. Every Spring and early Summer, the horseshoe crabs come ashore to spawn. The waves often flip the crabs over, leaving them stranded. The crabs then die in the hot sun. And it is the “Slaughter of the Crabs” Now Slaughter Beach is A Horseshoe Crab Sanctuary and a
A Certified Wildlife Habitat Community.
Seasonal Items of Interest: (From the Visitor information of Slaughter beach)
April/May: Baby Diamondback Terrapin Hatchlings have been emerging and moving from bay side to the marsh. Keep an eye out as they cross the road. If you find one move it to the marsh side of the road.
May/June/July: Female Diamondback Terrapins will start nesting activity in the coming months. The females will leave the marsh and start looking for sandy areas to nest in. This means a dangerous crossing of Bay Ave. Please keep an eye out for them. If you find and move it, please make sure you send her in the direction she was going.
April/May/June: Shore Birds are returning. Please disturb them as little as possible, they have come a great distance to feed and fatten up before flying north to nest.
May/June/July/August: Horseshoe Crabs will be returning usually starting in May and lingering through August. The heaviest concentration is usually in late May through June. If you see one flipped on its back, just roll turn it over. Never pick it up by the tail and if you find a tagged one, please do not remove the tag and report the information following the directions on the tag. Volunteers are needed for the spawning survey, if your are interested see Bill or Rose at the S.B. Mini Mart.
September/October: Fall migration of the Shore Birds and Monarch Butterflies.
We loved our day at the beach. It was such a peaceful day. The water was too cold to go in, I mean it is February. Since the water is a bay that goes out to the beach, there were only small waves. The waves are like the kind you get in a lake when a boat goes by.
Slaughter Beach is a less popular beach since most people drive to Rohobeth Beach or down to Ocean City, Maryland. It is a great place to get away and relax, away from the crowds.
Present day Slaughter Beach has a full time population of 198 people with a much higher summertime population. Slaughter Beach also has become much more of a year-round community for part time residents looking to escape for brief periods from the “real world.”