SMAS Celebrates Charles County’s Newest Park
On Saturday, October 28, SMAS participated in the open house for the Port Tobacco River Park, Tom Roland Natural Resource Area, in Port Tobacco. We were co-sponsors along with the Port Tobacco River Conservancy, U of MD Charles County Master Gardeners, and Charles County Tourism.We are so grateful to have this new park, in which preserving nature in its natural state is celebrated. The event from 9 a.m. to noon was a beautiful day. Our table featured an electronic bird identification board that young birders-to-be enjoyed, an eagle puppet craft, and a nature and bird walk.
Exploring the Park’s Birds and Native Plants
The SMAS-led walk had great attendance, almost 20 people, and truly was a pleasure for all. The park has four trails, for this open house walk we explored the Eagle Trail, Wetlands Trail and a portion of the Butterfly Trail.
While I focused on the avian species, our Youth Outreach committee chair Lee Vines shared his extensive knowledge of flora in the park. It is always so funny to have Lee explain the difference in the identification of grape vines vs poison ivy with such an appropriate moniker.
My favorite memory was playing the sound of the Eastern Towhee and getting a return song response and view. It was the look on their faces which made it so rewarding. We also had fun with about a dozen Swamp Sparrows and many seemed to enjoy learning the sound difference vs. the Song Sparrow.
While the great weather is now leaving us, this park will be the gift that keeps on giving this winter season. A local Eagle Scout, Ted Hoxie, has installed multiple Wood Duck boxes along the riparian buffer we can monitor, the trails along the river will give us great views of waterfowl, and we have an active Eagle nest! We are excited to host upcoming educational events to view the nest, and to participate in the Eagle Nest Monitoring program organized by the Maryland Bird Conservation Partnership with youth groups.
Thank you Charles County for such a gem of a park! We appreciate greatly this gift and will cherish and respect it through the years.
Lynne Wheeler, SMAS President