Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Snow Geese, Peregrines and Eagles: The Glades by Boat

You know it's going to be a good trip when the first Snow Geese of the fall (for me anyway) fly over, an adult Bald Eagle circles in the distance, and a Peregrine Falcon rockets overhead - all before you leave the parking area!

We tried something a little different yesterday afternoon, a tour of Glades Wildlife Refuge near Turkey Point in Cumberland County by motorboat-towed skiff. This was the brainchild of the folks at Beaver Dam Boat Rentals.

The Glades, owned by Natural Lands Trust, is a large complex of woods, salt marsh, ponds and channels, most of which is inaccessible except by boat. The rich habitat is marvelous for shorebirds, and as the tide went down, exposing mudflats, we encountered the expected October species: many Greater Yellowlegs, a few Lesser Yellowlegs, and varying numbers of Black-bellied Plovers, Semi-palmated Plovers, dowitchers (mostly Short-billed but there were a few Long-billeds), and Dunlin, another first of the fall for me.

We often feature the Glades/Turkey Point area on raptor expeditions, and with good reason. In two hours on the boat, we saw at least 4 different Bald Eagles, 3 different Peregrines, multiple Northern Harriers, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and Cooper's Hawk.

I asked participants if this was a "keeper," and they said definitely, so expect to see more "Tours of the Glades" run by CMBO in the future.

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