Field Trip: Patuxent River, Maryland

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Greenwell State Park, July

When both kids have viral pink-eye and copious amounts of mucous there are only so many places they can go.  After spending the last few days stuck in the house all three of us were ready to yell, “FIRE!” just for something to do.  We hadn’t been to Greenwell State Park in a while and with the humidity being so high today I just couldn’t face a playground.  So off we went to see what curiosities could be found along the Patuxent River (which connects to the Chesapeake Bay).

It is interesting living next to so many rivers which all meet up with the Bay.  You would think it might feel like living by the ocean but the gifts of the sea are quite different.  We don’t usually find sea glass or a wide variety of shells for example.  Instead we find lots and lots of oysters.  Sometimes we find crab carcasses and once we found an excellent Horseshoe Crab shell.  We took it home and examined it for weeks.

Cownose-ray-dorsal-viewGreenwell State Park is located on the Patuxent River but many Bay creatures find their way up there.  Today for example we had a new sighting!  A Cow-Nosed Sting Ray!  They migrate through the Chesapeake Bay in the summer and we were lucky enough to see one flapping along with a wingspan of 3 feet!  It was much too quick for a photography session.  We may have also seen one of these a few weeks back in the St. Mary’s River but today we got a positive ID today from a passing kid who was catching crabs with a chunk of raw chicken.  Way to go kid!

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Additionally we found a crab hanging on to a dock piling, several comb jellies, some img_6918enormous jellyfish, and we watched an osprey watching the biggest school of fish I’ve ever seen.  In the photo below you can make out a dark cloud in the center- it’s a whirlpool of solid fish. When one of us stepped in the water they all startled as one.

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Just yesterday we read Osprey Adventure in which a boy and his father untangle an osprey chick from old fishing line.  Today when we arrived at Greenwell we were reminded again to protect the Bay.  img_6914

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This time of year the wineberries are ripe for the picking and the water is lovely.

Thanks Greenwell.  As my daughter says, “We’ll SEA ya later!”

 

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