Friday, June 03, 2005

Preserves For Birds

Fraser Preserve
Courtesy: The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy’s preserves are set aside to protect natural plant and animal communities, including those of the winged variety. A map of preserves in the Maryland/DC Area can be seen here. Virginia's preserves are listed here.

Best for Birders:

Nanjemoy Creek provides a nesting home to one of the largest great blue heron colonies on the East Coast. Approximately 1,000 pairs of herons return each year on or around Valentine's Day to bring in the next generation of this species--the East Coast's largest wading bird, standing four feet tall with a six-foot wing span.

The Fraser Preserve boasts about 110 species of birds, including 39 nesting species and the bald eagle. Among the nesting birds are the red-shouldered hawk, ruby-throated hummingbird, downy woodpecker, scarlet tanager, and blue-gray gnatcatcher. There are also over 300 varieties of wildflowers. The natural habitats found in the Piedmont region, include clear fast streams, lush cold-spring swamp, marsh, mature hardwood forests, open meadow, ponds, river and stream floodplain forests and thickets, steep rocky bluffs, springs and seeps, and various stages of old field succession. The terrain slopes toward the Potomac River, which forms the northern boundary of the preserve.

At Helena's Island Preserve bird species far outnumber mammals and reptiles. Solitary sandpipers, ospreys, teal, mallards, and mergansers can be seen during the spring and fall migration. A number of species regularly visit or inhabit the island, including American redstart, northern parula, Carolina chickadee, green-backed heron and spotted sandpiper.

Blackwater River Preserve has one of the best remaining examples of an ancient baldcypress forest in the Southeast. Biologists estimate that some trees at this preserve are more than 800 years old. The prothonotary warbler as well as various other species pass through here.
Fernbrook Natural Area is an excellent example of a southern Piedmont forest in varying stages of succession. At an elevation of about 400 feet above sea level, the preserve includes examples of mature upland and lowland hardwood forests, a successional oak-pine forest, as well as a small tract of southern pines. Birds sighted here include the pileated woodpecker, ovenbird, scarlet tanager, ruby-throated hummingbird, and the red-tailed hawk. Bobcats have been known to wander through the area.

D.C. Bound:

Bear Island/Potomac Gorge, a natural monument in the shadow of national monuments, The Potomac Gorge—the 15-mile section of the Potomac River from above Great Falls south to Theodore Roosevelt Island—is one of the most significant natural areas in the entire National Park System. The Potomac Gorge site includes the well-known Billy Goat Trail- 2 miles of strenuous hiking. Access to the site is controlled by the National Park Service, who manages C&O Canal National Historical Park.

1 comment:

Simon Langer said...

Hi, I was surfing the internet and happened on your blog. I'm quite impressed , with how this all works. This is one to watch.

Best wishes,

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