Saturday, March 28, 2015

Marsh Grass Restoration Day with Pickering Creek Audubon

What a fun day we had at Blackwater NWR today.   Students, teachers, and friends of Chesapeake College, and a few Chesapeake Audubon members joined together to learn about problems from sea level rise and land subsidence on the Eastern Shore from the staff of Pickering Creek Audubon Center.

After hiking a short ways on Wolf Pit Pond (where we spotted 2 Brown-headed Nuthatches), we returned to the Education Center to share our experiences and prepared to head out to plant Spartina alterniflora (Saltmarsh cordgrass).

Samantha Pitts, volunteer coordinator and teacher naturalist (left), and Jaime Bunting, education manager of Pickering Creek Audubon Center (right) guided us out in the field.  Mark Scallion, director of the center, also helped out.
Many trees have already died due to the encroaching salt water.
 This region has some of the highest rates of sea-level rise in the U.S.

A Spartina plug


After eating pizza, compliments of Pickering Creek, and completing a survey, two of us headed out on Wildlife Drive where about 50 White Pelicans were easily spotted.  Greater-yellowlegs, Northern Shovelers, Tundra Swan, Kestrel, Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, Juncos, Mockingbird, Mallard, Purple Martin, and Tree Swallows were also seen.

This Osprey was perched on the platform that can be seen on the Friends of Blackwater
Osprey Cam.  A nest hasn't been started yet - stay tuned!

The new visitor's center is beautiful - be sure to visit them and view the exhibits, and browse the gift shop.

Pickering Creek has one more planting event scheduled for April 25th - please contact Samantha at to participate. Not only will you have fun -- but you will learn about our precious salt marshes and help combat sea level rise.


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