Bay Journal

Michael Burke

Rough-legged hawk’s rare visit to Gettysburg strikes a chord

The battlefield was silent. The split-rail fence rose peacefully atop the grassy hillside. The sky, once filled with smoke and the smell of gunpowder, was the brilliant blue only seen in winter.

I had last visited the Gettysburg National Military Park decades earlier. The hallowed ground was even more moving than I remembered.

Reports that a rough-legged hawk had been seen here...

For wren and writer, home is where the birdhouse hangs

Well before sunrise in early May it started: a loud chattering, burbling, cascading torrent of notes. From just outside our bedroom window, the birdsong filled the early morning air. It would continue virtually all day and go on well into the summer.

Our avian alarm clock was at it again. The house wren, one of America’s most well-known songsters, was busy attracting a mate and...

One last look is rewarded with an unexpected blue-headed vireo

The sun was finally low enough that the heat of the day was starting to ease. We were just about to head home after a pleasant afternoon at the always popular Lake Artemesia Park in College Park, MD.

There had been resident Canada geese and migratory pied-billed grebes on the water. A great blue heron was looking for dinner near the shoreline. Swirling masses of tree swallows...

Common gallinule uncommonly delightful in any landscape

The bald eagles were everywhere we looked, soaring through the summer sky and perching on top of a half-dozen loblolly pines. There were mature adults and several younger birds, and all of it was exhilarating.

My wife, Pat, had entered the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge minutes earlier. Just past the Marsh Edge Trail, we drove down Observation Access Road to the overlook....

Fed-ag partnership helps dickcissel to keep to cropping up in fields

We were driving slowly west along Powder Mill Road when my wife, Pat, spotted a blue bird perched on a post. I pulled over and carefully backed up a bit, just in time to see the indigo bunting fly off. But with no road noise, we could hear a different bird singing away nearby. It only took a minute to find the songster sitting atop a fence.

He made a couple of soft buzzy notes...

Cape May warbler has its own part to play in spring’s avian orchestra

I stood on the boardwalk and turned to the early morning sun. I felt the warmth on my face and closed my eyes. The dawn chorus of birds enveloped me.

As I listened intently, I could make out several familiar songs. There was a hermit thrush nearby, singing its fluted notes. To my left an indigo bunting whistled its complex tune. Somewhere behind me came the rattling voice of a...

It’s time to ruffle feathers again – seek actions to protect birds

It was April 28, 1988, and I was aboard Amtrak, heading to Washington, DC, to see the Pennsylvania congressman whose re-election campaign I would soon be running. As the train slowly pulled out of the BWI station, I looked out the window at the forested wetlands that border the tracks. A brilliantly white long-legged wading bird stood at the edge of some open water, its imposing...

Tricolored herons: Here today, but where tomorrow?

Dropping out of the opalescent sky with its neck neatly tucked back, the heron floated into view. Swinging its long legs forward at the last second, the graceful bird landed at the edge of an open pool of water. The blue-gray body stood out against the tawny marsh grasses.

Seeing herons at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia is a common occurrence, but this bird...

Saltmarsh sparrow needs tide to turn in its favor if it is to survive

Chesapeake marshes in the winter have a special charm. An extraordinary range of warm brown, ocher and russet tones lend the grasses a hypnotic quality. At this time of the year, I tend to focus my attention on the Chesapeake’s bountiful waterfowl. But the marsh grasses are always there, adding a backdrop of ineffable beauty to any visit.

We were in the Blackwater National...

More articles »

About Michael Burke

Michael Burke's avatar Rachel Felver is Chesapeake Bay Program communications director for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.

 

We Protect & Restore Watersheds

Stormwater Maintenance & Consultants
Disign-Build-Inspect-Maintain-Survey

mdswm.com
Learn more about ESG Investment Strategies
Valliant Wealth Management
Chestertown, MD
Grasonville, MD
Restoring the native balance...
Ernst Seed
Support ESLC on Giving Tuesday
Ecotone Ecological Restoration
Using Nature to Restore Nature

410-420-2600
Environmental Quality Services
Leaders in Stream Restoration since 1991
A Real Force for Nature

Learn more at www.eqrllc.com
Clydes Sports Shop
Donate to the Bay Journal Nov 1-Dec 31 and your gift will be DOUBLED!
NewsMatch 2019 Campaign
Include Bay Journal in your Estate Planning and preserve independent journalism for future generations.
Did you know that you can subscribe to the Bay Journal? Make a selection below to get your FREE subscription to the Bay Journal. You can get a print version delivered to your home or office or an electronic version delivered to your inbox.

Copyright ©2019 Bay Journal / Bay Journal Media / Advertise with Us

Terms of use | Privacy Policy