FBC Outing to Maryland’s Eastern Shore

Eleven members of the Fredericksburg Bird Club ventured to the Maryland Eastern Shore during the extended weekend of Friday, February 17, 2012 through Sunday, February 19, 2012.  The trip began on Friday with a walk at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (formerly Horsehead Wetlands) in Grasonville, MD where Brown-headed Nuthatch and Red-breasted Nuthatch were the top birds.  After lunch at the Easton Diner, our intrepid group continued on to the Easton Water Treatment Plant where there were several thousand Canada Geese and one lone dark morph Snow Goose.  We then made a quick stop at Oakley Street in Cambridge, MD for close looks at hundreds of Canvasbacks and Lesser Scaup, along with a few Common Goldeneye, American Wigeon and Redhead.  This location is a favorite of waterfowl photographers because the birds are enticed to come close by offerings of cracked corn!  We checked out Shorter’s Wharf below Blackwater NWR where Short-eared Owl and Rough-legged Hawk had been reported.  We missed both of those birds but were rewarded by sights of several hunting Northern Harriers.  Friday ended with an enjoyable dinner at the Suicide Bridge Restaurant in Hurlock, MD.

Saturday began with stops at several locations in Cambridge where we were treated to the sight of mating Common Goldeneyes at Great Marsh Park.  Our stop along Riverside Drive produced at least 10,000 Snow Geese on the Choptank River, along with Surf Scoters, a Common Loon and a surprise Northern Gannet.  The drive along Egypt Road to Blackwater NWR gave us our first Horned Lark of the trip.  The Wildlife Drive in Blackwater NWR was filled with thousands of Canada Geese but the Snow Geese usually seen in the close-in corn fields were far off-shore.  But Blackwater did not disappoint us with the many views of Bald Eagle.  A stop at the refuge Visitor Center gave us a tip to try Decoursey Bridge Road for Golden Eagle and we were not disappointed there either!  We then continued to Hooper Island where the species of the day was a small group of Sanderling.  After another stop at Oakley Street in Cambridge we returned to the hotel for a quick clean-up and then dinner at the Canvasback Restaurant in downtown Cambridge.

Sunday began early with a drive to Elliott Island for more waterfowl.  A stop at Lewis Wharf along Elliott Island Road gave us more Horned Lark, Northern Harrier, a Red-tailed Hawk and a few Yellow-rumped Warbler.  Our outing ended at the Elliott Island Wharf with nice looks at Horned Grebe, Common Loon and many, many Ruddy Duck.  Our group then split up to make their way back to Virginia in hopes of getting ahead of a threatening snow storm.  On the way home, one fortunate group was treated to a close-up (as in right next to the car) look of a female Ring-necked Pheasant to complete a very enjoyable weekend.  See a complete list of species on the ‘Field Trips Report Page.’

-Bev Smith

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