Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge

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Bald Eagle at Eastern Neck

Its February, 2009 and we need to get out of town.  Our house is on the market and we're having an open house.  The Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge is an easy drive and looked like a fun place to explore.  Its south of Rock Hall, MD and we'd been there before.  From Reston, its a little over 2 hours to get there.  You go through Annapolis, MD on Route 50 and cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  Then you take Route 301 head into rural Maryland.  The refuge is managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  Its located where the Chester River meets the Chesapeake Bay.  There's several trails to walk and the kayaking looks very good. 

Tundra Swans near the boardwalk.  Click to see a larger picture.  Use the browser back button to return here.We've never been there in the summer so we only know about winter.  I assume its a little different but still nice.  As you first come onto the island, you come to Tundra Swan Boardwalk.  It doesn't amount to much of a board walk but there were a bunch of swans there.  I don't think I've seen that many swans in one place.
Visitor's Center.  Click to see a larger picture.  Use the browser back button to return here.
We headed south to the visitor's center to get oriented.  We talked to the lady that worked there and looked around.  The Tidal Marsh Overlook Trail is out back.  It is short and leads to a blind.  We mainly saw Canada Geese but there was a lost Tundra Swan with them.  Maybe he thought he actually was a goose.  They can't look at a mirror after all.

From there we drove down to look at the Wicklife Historic Site.  It was cold and there weren't obvious attractions so we turned around and headed north.  As you drive, there are lots of open fields.  It wasn't clear to me what was normally in them.  If I find out, I'll add it here.

Chesapeake Bay.  Click to see a larger picture.  Use the browser back button to return here.Back north we head.  This time to the Bayview / Butterfly Trail.  Its north of the visitor's center and a short drive from the main road.  When  you get there, you come to a house with a windmill and solar panels.  The garden for the butterflies was out backWood duck box and pond.  Click to see a larger picture.  Use the browser back button to return here. and you can imagine there wasn't much going on.  You walk a short trail to the Bayview Overlook.  Its kind of pretty as you look across the Bay toward Kent Island and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  Follow the path as it heads north.  It stops at a wood duck blind.  It lets you watch a wood duck box and a pretty pond beside it.  Nothing there in February but it could be interesting at the right time of year.

Sue on the Wildlife Trail.  Click to see a larger picture.  Use the browser back button to return here.Across the street was the Wildlife Trail.  Its only a half-mile and we planned to walk it all.  There's a spur that goes into the marsh and it sounds like it might be interesting.  We got about half way.  A bald eagle flew into the woods near us andBald Eagle.  Click to see a larger picture.  Use the browser back button to return here. entertained us for more than a half hour.  I had the wrong camera lens with me and walked back to the car.  When I got back, it was still there.  It flew to change trees a few times but never far.  I took a ridiculous amount of pictures and some turned out decent.  As the eagle flew, it headed back the way we came in.  We just went back and kept taking pictures.  One of these days, maybe we can walk the whole trail.

By now we're hungry.  We continued north heading to Bogles Wharf.  We passed the road to the Ingleside Recreation Area.  Its operated by Kent County and is only open from May 1 to September 30.  It is the point to launch kayaks and canoes.  Picnic tables are also available.

Bogles Wharf.  Click to see a larger picture.  Use the browser back button to return here.Bogles Wharf also has a launch for boats.  A kayak can launch here for free.  If you have a boat on a trailer, you must obtain a Kent County permit.  We ate lunch watching eagles over the Chester River.  Not too bad, I think.  I watched one eagle catch a fish.  You can kind of see it in the picture in the album.  The area is pretty.  Not sure they've got enough parking for a lot if kayakers / fishermen but it would be worth a try.  This area to me looked a lot nicer for kayaking than the Bay side did.  The permit isn't a problem if you're a kayaker and that's a good thing.
Swans flying away with bridge in background.  Click to see a larger picture.  Use the browser back button to return here.
Next stop was the Tubby Cove Boardwalk.  It leads to a blind letting you look over the marsh and across the Bay.  There were some swans in the distance.  We got a picture of swans flying away with the Bay Bridge in the background.  You can see it in the album.

View from Boxes Point.  Click to see a larger picture.  Use the browser back button to return here.The final walk was the Boxes Point Trail.  Its a 1.2 mile round-trip walk through an open forest that takes you to Boxes Point.  You can look across Fryingpan Cove towards the bridge you crossed coming to the island.  There wasn't a lot of action from birds other than a gull putting on a show.  Eagle sightings are supposed to be common but we didn't see anyway.  Maybe they were all at the Wildlife Loop.

Eastern Neck NWR made for a nice day.  It might be nicer in the summer when you could paddle around.  Maybe we'll make it back sometime when its warmer.  The was only one problem with the day.  We looked for a Dairy Queen most of the way home and didn't find one.  Oh well.  At least, it was a nice day trip.