The Sound of Quiet – A Visit to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere as quiet as Blackwater NWR on the Eastern Shore. Except for human voices and the quiet hum of a car gently passing by on the driving tour, the only sounds are nature. I believe I never even heard a plane overhead.
Blackwater is also one of the most beautiful areas I’ve visited. The landscape of sky, marshes, and grasses extending as far as the eye can see, punctuated by tall stands of evergreens and deciduous trees, is remarkable.
The Refuge consists of over 25,000 acres of freshwater impoundments, brackish tidal wetlands, open fields, and mixed evergreen and deciduous forests, according to its Friends of BNWR website. That makes it an ideal home for 150 bald eagles during the winter; upwards of 35,000 geese and 15,000 ducks during the November migration; as well as over 250 species of birds, 35 species of reptiles and amphibians, 165 species of threatened and endangered plants, and numerous mammals. That’s a lot of wildlife to look for and observe.
A “traffic backup” once an eagle was spotted
What brought me to Blackwater were those eagles. Well, actually a Festival celebrating the eagles. It’s hard to pass up a party for the 1st visit. Like all good festivals, there was good food (crab soup!) along with an eagle prowl, marsh hike, wildlife exhibits, and kids activities. And an eagle – this one sat for at least a half hour, watching us watch him: