Saturday, March 8, 2014

Potomac River Oysters

The wife and pixie spent a week at my in-laws place in Breckenridge recently. I had to pick them up this past Tuesday at National Airport (that is what locals call it). I stopped at Roaches Run to wait for them, the unofficial 'cell phone waiting area' where all of the town cars park.

I hopped out and walked around. I don't often walk this area in winter. I stopped at the tunnel to watch the outgoing tide. Low tide was in an hour or so which meant the water here would still be flowing for about two hours.

I walked down to the shore to poke around. I'm still a kid in that way, I like to flip over rocks and play in the mud. It'll never get old.

I flushed a bunch of ducks and gulls out of the shallows where the old pilings are. I can't find any information about the pilings. They are wood and stick out at low tide. You'll snag a fly on them quite often.

As I'm walking I notice all of the fresh opened oysters in the shallows. Then some mussels, broken bottles, half a fishing rod etc. Then something I've never seen up in these parts: Oysters.

I've never seen an oyster in the Potomac. The river constantly gives up something new which is the fun of living and working here. I've seen tilapia and blue crabs, carp in numbers you wouldn't believe. I've stepped on gar and grabbed 18" goldfish. Yet I've never seen an oyster.

I was unable to find any that were still alive. I'm not quite sure if they were wild. Maybe they were dumped here from someone's lunch or a restaurant? Remember the time there were a dozen wild chickens in this parking lot? You just never know.

I also wanted to see if there was any spat or larvae growing on the shells. I found a total of five half shells when my phone rang and it was time for me to head to the pickup at the airport. I'll wait until another low tide and hopefully a big wind to explore again.

 The oysters were very raw looking, not as if they were handled by people. They were several years old which means if wild they have been in the 'duck pond' for several years.

I'm quite excited about this find. Have they always been here and I'm just finding them?

Is the river becoming clean enough that they can make a comeback?

Will their filtering capabilities clean up the river?

So many great things could come from oysters making a comeback.

Who wants to be the first to eat one?


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