A dolphin takes a breath while swimming off Ocean City Saturday with several others. Federal officials fear a deadly illness could be coming back north with the returning animals, although the hope is that the disease will peter out this spring. (photo by Bill Barlow)
With warming temperatures, the snowbirds are returning from Florida.
That goes for wildlife as well as human cold-averse residents. On platforms along the marshes and back bays, ospreys are choosing their nesting sites, and over the weekend, just past the wetsuited surfers in the 40-something degree water in Ocean City’s north end, a pod of dolphins made its way through the waves.
Now that the water is warming up some, the marine mammals are making their way back into local waters after migrating south for the winter.
Bob Schoelkopf, the founder and director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, said he expects to see fewer dolphins along the New Jersey coast after last year’s devastating die-off, but at the same time, the local population will likely be healthier.