In spite of awful weather, eight members of HAS joined me in Upper Marlboro, MD to go on one of Greg Kearns pontoon boat trip up the Patuxent River in Jug Bay. The drive down was hard for people, some arriving just in time for dinner at a local place in Upper Marlboro, but the dinner was good.
Saturday morning we drove down to Patuxent River Park and joined Greg Kerns, the naturalist there for the past 30 years, for our trip up Jug Bay. The boat was covered in Tree Swallows who had to make room for us. We were joined by several members of the Montgomery Bird Club who took advantage of the opportunity to check out the nesting Osprey.
There were many, many juvenile Bald Eagles flying about in the gray skies. Fortunately the forecasted rain held off til the last half hour of the trip. We motored up the Bay slowing at a few of the more than 30 nests Greg had installed. He was full of stories and information about the bay and its history. An interesting moment was when two eagles flew over with huge escaped goldfish in their talons. People have dumped their small fish in the bay, and they’ve grown into large carp. The last bit up the narrow neck of the Patuxent Rive was one of the best moments where we had a Prothonotary Warbler giving us great views as he flitted among the trees and ferns.
After lunch in a local market which had great barbeque, we were picked up in the Park van and taken to an area where there was a Great Blue Heron rookery. It was the first visit Greg had made this season and he was very disappointed at the fact that there were so many fewer nests than in the past. The Sycamore trees where they nest were huge! and the way there was difficult, a steep slope to reach the bottom to look up at the nests. But we all made it down, and back up! only one person got baptized with “wash” from the nests. The murmur of chicks and parents filled the air.
Dinner Saturday night was on the Chesapeake Bay at a restaurant that served, natch, sea food!
Sunday morning dawned bright and clear and sunny but cold. After a big breakfast we headed to Merkle Sanctuary which was founded originally to provide a stopover for Canada Geese, little did he know what he was doing! The drive around provided a few more warbler species, Parula, Redstart, Hooded and Eastern Kingbird. The cool wind was picking up again, and kept down many species, but we ended with a respectable list of 65.