Bottlenose dolphins in the York RiverAllison Dungan ·
Last week, Tim Caruthers and I traveled to Colonial National Park to continue work started last fall on a condition assessment for the park. While walking on the Tobacco Road trail in Yorktown, which ends at the York River, we spotted a pod of bottlenose dolphins frolicking in the river.
At first I thought that the disturbance was a really big skate or group of skates, until we saw dorsal fins pierce the water. The pod was spread out in the river between Yorktown and Gloucester Point, and seemed to be playing or feeding in the area directly off of the shore where we were standing. There was at least one very small, young, dolphin in the group. It was a pretty breathtaking site! The week before I had read news from the Choptank River Keeper, about dolphins being sited in the Choptank tributary of Broad Creek. The picture below was the best that I could get, because the dolphins were not all that interested in being photographed.
Just to be clear, these are not the same dolphin that are on the menu of the eatery that we went to the night before. The Atlantic bottlenose dolphin is a small, toothed marine mammal that is grayish in color and can be found in the Chesapeake Bay during the summer months.
The dolphins were not the only large mammals fishing the waters of the York River that morning. There were also a couple of fishermen casting their lines into the York. I hope that this indicates a large fish population, indicative of a strong ecosystem. The small amount of the park that I saw was really beautiful and I look forward to returning later this summer or early fall.