Blackwater Wildlife Refuge

Tom and Jennifer D’Asto, my wife Michelle and I spent the day at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge, Maryland.

We arrived in the morning and the air temperature was only 29-degrees, with a breeze that cut through our clothing . . .

. . . but that did not hinder this female mallard from bathing!

As we began the trail system through the refuge, Michelle noticed bald eagles right out of the gate.  At our first stop, Canada geese and tundra swans (black-beaked) were everywhere.  This catbird or mockingbird fed on sumac seeds just over my shoulder.

Now and again we would see pockets of northern shovelers, with the males having striking green heads with yellow eyes.

A red-headed woodpecker worked an area of dead loblolly pine.

Until very recently the Delmarva Fox Squirrel (DFS) was federally listed as an endangered species but has been de-listed.  The  DFS is one-third larger than the common gray squirrel, is whiter in color, has a bushier tail and is overall more robust and rotund than the common gray squirrel.  We saw three through the course of our tour.

We saw massive aggregates of snow geese occasionally lift-off from the saturated fields and ponds, fly in circles and re-land.  While in the air the cackling noise was deafening, and a wonderful sight to behold, as literally thousands took flight.  I dedicate several photos to follow, as the fly-by’s were a treat to watch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awesome!

A lone crow calls from the marsh.

White pelican in Maryland!?  Yep, these pelicans are quite atypical for being in Maryland, as this is most likely the absolute northernmost extent of their range.  We have breeding brown pelican on the Chesapeake Bay, but these white’s are quite uncommon.

Can yo find the resting Canada goose in this photo with the blue heron?  ( Foreground front right, with head tucked under wing. )

Wow . . . Bald Eagle up close and personal!

We assume these to be a mature breeding pair that have claimed this prime real estate platform.  December is when they pair bond, build or improve upon their nests, leading to laying eggs in January.  This platform is retrofitted to hold an eagle-cam, which may likely come on-line in the next few weeks, should these eagles decide to use this particular platform.

Remember, you can click on the photo to enlarge it, and click again to go back into the blog.  With my Nikon telephoto lens, I was able to get quite close, without encroaching into their personal space.  What a beautiful way to spend a day during the Christmas – New Year’s break.  Thank you Michelle, Tom and Jennifer.  Lunch on the water in historic Cambridge!