Alice had a bridge tournament at the Hyatt Resort in Cambridge, Maryland, and I went along to do some wildlife photography. I also planned a side trip during this week to the Atlantic coast. There were reports of a Harlequin Duck at the Ocean City Inlet, and that would be a life bird for me. I also wanted to return to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge to see what might be there. We decided to avoid the Washington, DC area on the drive up on November 12, and instead went through Fredericksburg on Route 3 and then north on Route 301. It was a bit of a longer drive, but I thought it might avoid a lot of traffic. I was wrong! Route 301 was slow and full of vehicles all the way, even though it was a Sunday. Soon after we crossed the Rappahannock River on Route 3 just east of Fredericksburg, a juvenile Bald Eagle flew in front of us from a lake/wetlands area where I had seen Bald Eagles a couple of years ago. I wasn't able to get a photo, but thought that I would probably see another eagle later on this trip. We also saw two Red-tailed Hawks on the way to Cambridge.
Alice and I explored Cambridge in the morning, and then I went to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in the afternoon. It was only 12 miles from the hotel. I had read that Canada Geese like to spend the winter there, and that was an understatement. Huge flocks of Canada Geese were at the reserve.
As soon as I crossed the small bridge just after the pay station, I stopped when I saw a couple of birds flying in the reeds. They were Marsh Wrens, and I could hear their churr calls, but wasn't able to get a photos of them as they disappeared in the vegetation so quickly. There were a few Mallards and Northern Shovelers in this marsh.
I stopped at the Marsh Edge Trail a bit farther down the road, and hiked it. I saw a few woodland species, and saw two Bald Eagles and one Northern Harrier in the distance.
As I drove along the wildlife drive, I saw more ducks, a few Great Blue Herons, another Bald Eagle, a Belted Kingfisher, Song Sparrows, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and a Delmarva Fox Squirrel.
Mallards and Northern Pintails
Mallards, Northern Pintail, and an American Wigeon
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Delmarva Fox Squirrel
At one point, some Canada Geese landed in an area where two Great Blue Herons were fishing, and the herons drove the geese away.
Great Blue Heron and Canada Geese
I saw two more Northern Harriers. One was a female and the other was a "Gray Ghost" male.
Female Northern Harrier
Male Northern Harrier
I would return to the Blackwater NWR two more times this week, and saw 40 avian species there during these three visits.Click here to continue on the trip to Ocean City Inlet and Chincoteague.