Favorite Local Places: Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary

I’ve been there twice now and it is a beautiful BEAUTIFUL place. I first went with my environmental science lab class and we got a tour of the marshland. Our guide could talk with a passion about the place forever and the passion was contagious. I really suggest booking a tour. The guy is also hilarious. It’s a must see place and a must-go trip.

Jug Bay has an enormous amount of wildlife to see. On my two trips I’ve seen lots of osprey, bald eagles, herons, sand pipers, snipes, a coot, turtles, muskrats, snakes, laughing gulls, and red winged black birds. Geese too unfortunately. If you go in the fall, Jug Bay is a hot spot for migratory birds.

Here is their website: http://www.jugbay.org/

They have Osprey nests with webcams on them which you can watch live on the website.

Here are some pictures from the trip.

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That little bird shaped speck is an osprey. There are a lot of Osprey there.

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there were a lot of little tadpoles swimming right there. You can kind of see a swirming mass of little brown things.

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Cypress tree 🙂

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Cypress tree at wider angle

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knees of the cypress tree 🙂 so cooooooolllll

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These are pictures from my second trip to Jug Bay. Some friends and guests went kayaking and canoeing there.

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For fun picture I took of the bathroom and snack area in negative

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the little dark spot near the shore is a muskrat

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paddler of canoe to my front

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paddler of canoe behind me

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me seated in the middle of the canoe between the people showed above

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friends in canoe that caught up to us

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friends in kayaks behind us

Red Foxes: White and Blue Herons at Centennial Lake, Ellicott City

I’ve been to Centennial Lake the last three mornings in a row and everyday I saw at least one Heron.

The first day, Monday August 20th, I saw a great big Great Blue Heron and the White Heron my dad had seen one day in Dayton. I was taking a break from running when I heard that squawk of theirs and ran back to an opening in the trees to see out to the water, got a glimpse of the blue one and ran to the next break in the trees where it had been flying towards and saw it go by this little island of trees squawking louder now. Then thats when the white one flew out of its spot in the tree to make way for the big blue one and picked another spot. It was amazing but I couldn’t see them perched in the tree from where I was. I kept on walking and found them when I got to the other side of that part of the lake. They were just perched their, looking around, cleaning their wings, hanging out. It was such a beautiful sight.

The second day, Tuesday August 21st, I didn’t see the blue one but I did see the white one again. I spotted it first from this bridge by a tunnel. It’s white feathers stuck out like a big ball of snow against the grey sky and dark green leaves. It was perched in the same tree as the day before but higher up. I watched it from where I had before as it cleaned its wings and just sat there.

Today, Wednesday August 22nd, I saw at least two herons, maybe three, and all were Great Blue Herons. I didn’t spot the white one today but I got a really close up view of two of the Blue Herons. I was walking along this long stretch of flat and open trail by the water when I heard that squawking again and turned around to see two Great Blue Herons flying up to th path, one sweeping low to the waters edge and the other kept going up and up and to the other side past a line of trees. I quietly walked down closer to the water to spot the one that had landed there and I found it. I stood there for a good couple minutes maybe watching it before it flew off. A little later I was by the little wooded island where I had seen the Herons the past two days and spotted a heron again, perched in a nearby spot. Now, I couldn’t tell you if it was a different heron or one of the ones I saw earlier but it it was, it was going to be the one that flew over the path that I didn’t get the greatest view of. The one that had landed by the water was smaller than the one I saw later perched in a tree. It was an amazing sight none the less.

If you live in the area, I definitely suggest going to Centennial Lake to take a look around. I was there from 7am to 830am. I don’t know how often you see them there later in the day.

Great Blue Heron photo source: http://www.fws.gov/chesapeakebay/heron.html

White Heron photo source: http://mainethroughthelens.blogspot.com/

 

Roses: Squash Plant Clippings

So, there is thing garden plot outside my front door that used to be maintained by a woman a few doors down. She planted flowers and other plants (not vegetables or food plants) in there for years, ever since I can remember. It was last year or the year before that the people who run the neighborhood had the people who cut the grass and other stuff dig everything up out of the garden plot and dig up the plants in some people’s yards. We don’t know and there really isn’t any reasonable explanation for why they did it. They put in a few common and cheap flowers in there but mostly mulch.

This year though, this vine like plant with huge leaves came up (early in the spring). It grew fast and soon we noticed these orange flowers after awhile. My mom called them squash blossoms and sure enough, somehow, it was a squash plant. No one in the neighborhood grew it, heck, you’d be lucky if half the people in my neighborhood recognized a zucchini if they saw one. It grew and grew and grew and at one point, the mailman was scared of it, having the idea that maybe one day when he went to put the mail in the mailbox that it would grab him, pull him into the thickest part, and eat him. We kept seeing flowers, but no squash. No bees on the flowers either. One day, my mom had the idea to fertilize the flowers with each other so my dad brought a couple of the flowers together, shaking the pollen into each other. Voila, not a whole lot later, maybe a couple weeks, we noticed that squashes had started to grow! So, I decided to snap a few pieces of the vine and me and my dad put them in containers of water so they would sprout and we could have our own squash plant. My parents think it’s pumpkin but I’m going more for acorn squash. Anyway, it must have been a bird that started this all (having eaten a seed and pooped it or dropped it in the garden plot). My aunt says a tomato plant mysteriously started growing one year in her backyard thinking it was most likely a bird too. Yay for birds!

Red Foxes: Spottings in Dayton, MD

No pictures, sorry. But, we spotted, at least five Herons altogether, three Kingfishers, very colorful birds, Karp, tons of baby turtles or all sizes, and a good ten deer any maybe more though I couldn’t tell if we had seen any bucks because some were pretty far away. I found a nice skull too that I’ll post a picture of tomorrow or the next day when I identify what it came from. My dad and I think it could be a opossum, but I’ll look it up. Happy spotting everyone and hope everyone had a nice weekend, first since Midsummer.

Favorite Local Places: Patuxent Reservoir Big Branch Recreation Area, Dayton, MD

The Patuxent Reservoir Big Branch Recreation Area in Dayton, MD has been one of my favorite spots since I was a little kid. It’s not far from my Grandfather’s house so I went there a lot growing up and I’ve always liked it. You can hike, kayak, canoe, fish, take pictures, or just look around. There’s even a playground. It’s great for spotting wildlife and if you hike back to the big bend where the Patuxent opens up more, you’ll spot eagles ospreys, and even a family of otters (which is rare in Maryland, at least in these parts as far as I’m aware of). Herons, hawks, turtles, karp, King Fishers, snakes, and deer boast frequent spottings though you’ll probably have to hike to see the deer. I’ve seen the osprey and the more frequent spotted animals though I’ve only seen a dead snake there. I can’t wait to hike back far enough to see the otters. Beavers can be seen too, though I’m not much a fan of them. Of course, The Reservoir offers good bird watching and even watching the dragonflys’ is cool too. Check the place out. It’s on Triadelphia Rd in Dayton, MD.