As you may have read in previous entries of mine, I've been chasing the elusive Scarlet Tanager for two years running - might this be my lucky day?
I had both kids in tow and my intention was to walk the grounds (some of the refuge is open, much closed to human intrusion), drop by the best wildlife visitors center (ever) - it makes the one in Rock Creek Park look like a gentleman's study. They have a great wolf display that my daughter loves and this weekend I was treated to the portion that shows a pack greedily devouring a deer, complete with super ick visuals!
The great news we found out upon arrival was that we were just in time for the 3 p.m. tram ride that takes visitors to portions of the park normally off limits to visitation. You can be treated to wide array of birds, either on the lake or in the tree canopy. When I spoke with a naturalist as we waited on the tram I asked about the possibility of spotting my elusive Scarlet Tanager. She gave a wry smile and said, "why we have a trail call Tanager Loop" and she cheerily went on to detail all the places I might see them (my heart was a little green toad of envy!). The Tanager has a bright orange/reddish plumage, black wings and, outside the Oriole, in my esteem, the most handsome local bird.
The tram ride was honestly a bit disappointing during our time slot in terms of wildlife spotted - sorry, deer at 100 yards don't cut it anymore, but it's been great in the past - lots of beavers, amphibians, birds and various flora.
Post tram ride, we hit the meadowland trails adjacent the visitors center as this has always been the spot for Indigo Buntings, Finches, and other birds that dwell in the canopy but like the meadow menu. I was dumbstruck when my quarry passed over head - I was incapable of wielding my camera. I stood with mouth agape as this good looking bird sailed by....I have to see one stationary to compete and verify this odyssey but I feel blessed just having a fly by....
In the heart of the Baltimore - Washington corridor, the National Wildlife Visitor Center is located off of Powder Mill Road, 2 miles east of the Baltimore /Washington Parkway, just south of Laurel, Maryland. map
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