Thursday, August 23, 2007

Don't forget your Purse... Purse State Park, that is.

Today I was working in Charles County. I work with the schools (selling supplies, furniture and materials of instruction for a fantastic company called School Specialty), so I am lucky to able to squeeze in some birding between school visits. Back-to-School is a busy time of year. Today after my meeting with all of Charles County's High School Art Teachers in LaPlata, I decided to venture off and visit some schools well off the beaten path. While travelling the highways of the Western Shore of Southern Maryland today, I stopped by Purse State Park. Needless to say, it was well worth the detour.

The moment I stepped out of the 'school supply mobile' I came face to face with a very large, very adult BALD EAGLE. Normally, Eagles are ho hum... I mean, they're off the endangered species list now, right? But, literally, it was flying towards me (in slooow motion it seemed) about 20 feet over my head, and then it turned and flew off down the tree lined road. So I decided to stay a while and look / listen for what else might be hanging around this great stretch of road. In a two mile area, I saw...

4 Great Blue Heron
3 Osprey
5 Bald Eagle
*There were two seperate pairs, the one single I mentioned (above), and a lone Juv. It could have been as many as 7, but I can't be sure that I wasn't seeing the same individuals.
3 Belted Kingfisher
1 Downy Woodpecker
3 Eastern Wood-Pewee
1 Acadian Flycatcher
1 Eastern Phoebe
2 American Crow
2 Carolina Chickadee
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
3 American Goldfinch

I would recommend this road/area for 'driving while birding' as the main road is so quiet, you could park and listen and look without having a car pass by for ten minutes at a time (MD 224 / Riverside Road). There are lots of great marsh areas to view on either side of the road, interrupted by rather dense forest areas, and Purse State Park is small, but great. It is a short hike from the small lot to the river banks.
On a side note, I did bring home a slew of very, very, very small tick-like creatures. I noticed them biting my knees by the time I got to Waldorf on the way home. I knew I was in trouble. I'm still itchy! I was dressed in a sport coat and tie (you know, typical rugged birding attire?), so I didn't cover myself with DEET before venturing off the road. When will I learn? Do you think the birds appreciate the tie?
Good birding,

Dan Haas

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