In case you have read this entire blog and still doubt that the Eastern Shore is anything but a smelly chicken covered place, I present you with photos from Cambridge, MD. This town is not only the real-life namesake of a University of Maryland dorm that, like my freshman and sophomore year dorms Denton and Easton, might as well be in Oregon as far as most students know (all are Eastern Shore towns). It is also the home of one of the biggest National Wildlife Refuges in the lower 48. And it is less than a two hour drive from the DC/Baltimore/their surrounding suburban areas. There is a loop of about 15 miles that you can drive or bike, with frequent stopping places for hikes through the woods, near meadows, or overlooking the brackish tidal wetlands. Established in 1933 and covering 27,000 acres, it provides critical habitat for overwintering and breeding birds. It is most important of all for migratory birds, and was originally created with them in mind. It is right in the middle of the Atlantic Flyway, the path along the coast through which many flocks pass heading north and south in the spring and fall.
I have been to Blackwater once before, in April of this year. The photo of the salamander that headlines this blog was taken on that trip. Amphibians love it, birds love it, and the endangered Delmarva Fox Squirrel digs it enough to survive here too. Flying Squirrels are occasionally reported, but my childhood dream of seeing one remains unrealized.
Naturalists ❤ grasslands.
Coastal Plain character the Loblolly Pine. This bark is full of great hiding places if you are smaller than a breadbox.
Loblolly + Sweetgum= Coastal Plain