Winter Walks in Sanctuary Areas at Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge

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Three winter waterfowl walks and two Refuge walks—all in sanctuary areas—are again being sponsored by Friends of Eastern Neck, Inc.

“This is a great opportunity to be guided through areas of the Refuge not usually open to the public,” says Cindy Beemiller, refuge manager. “You’ll be guided off the beaten path, with a good chance of spotting waterfowl and wildlife.”

Depending on the month and location, expect to observe Canada geese, tundra swans, scaup, ruddy ducks, mallards, buffleheads, black ducks, and canvasbacks, as well as bald eagles and other wildlife, such as fox, deer, groundhogs, and wild turkeys.

Guided walks start promptly at 8:00 a.m. on five Saturdays:

November 4 – Refuge Walk

December 2 – Waterfowl Walk

January 6 – Waterfowl Walk

February 3 – Waterfowl Walk

March 3 – Refuge Walk

A local birding expert or naturalist will guide each walk. Plan for a flat, two-mile outing of about two hours, with cocoa and cookies at Refuge Headquarters after. Bring binoculars and a camera. Wear boots and dress warmly. No rain date.

Registration for each walk is limited to 20, first-come, first-served. Children over 12 are permitted, but no dogs. Walks are free (with a tax-deductible donation payable to Friends of Eastern Neck appreciated to keep the program self-sustaining). To register, go to Eventbrite 

NOTE: Each Friday evening before these walks is a “First Friday” in Chestertown, Kent County’s seat, with special exhibits, public performances, including music, and general merriment and fun, with most shops open late.

For more information, contact:

Gren Whitman (in Rock Hall)

E-mail: easternneckwalks@gmail.com

or call him: 443-691-9370

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Waterfowl Walks in Sanctuary Areas at Eastern Neck NWR

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“This is a great opportunity to see thousands of wintering waterfowl up close, and in areas not normally open to the public,” says Cindy Beemiller, manager of the Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge. “You’ll be guided way off the beaten track!”

eni_brdwlk_bernadette_copyFriends of Eastern Neck, Inc., announces the second year of five Winter Waterfowl Walks at Eastern Neck NWR, one per month, starting November 5.

Conditions permitting, thousands of Canada geese, tundra swans, scaup, ruddy ducks, buffleheads, mallards, black ducks, canvasbacks, mergansers, grebes, and wood ducks can be spotted as the winter progresses. Resident bald eagles are often observed at Eastern Neck, as well as other local wildlife.

Guided walks start at 8:00 a.m. on five Saturdays: November 5, December 3, January 7, February 4, and March 4. The walks will include Panhandle Point, Hail Creek, and Shipyard Creek, all Refuge areas ordinarily off-limits to the public.

A local birding expert will guide each walk. Plan for a flat, two-mile walk of about two hours, with cocoa and cookies served at Refuge Headquarters afterward. Bring binoculars and a camera. Wear boots and dress warmly! No rain dates.

Registration for each walk is limited to 20, first-come, first served. Children over 12 are permitted, but no dogs. Walks are free (with a tax-deductible donation to Friends of Eastern Neck appreciated to keep the program self-sustaining). To register at “Eventbrite,” go to: http://bit.do/winterwaterfowlwalks

NOTE: Each of the Friday evenings before these Saturday walks is a “First Friday” in Chestertown, Kent County’s seat, with special exhibits, public performances, including music, and general merriment, with most shops open late.

Because the walks are early morning, if you’re traveling from a distance, you may consider obtaining Friday night accommodations in Rock Hall (5 miles from Refuge) or Chestertown (12 miles). Each registrant will be mailed an information packet with precise directions to the Refuge and local motels and B&Bs, restaurants, shopping opportunities, and other points of interest in Kent County.

Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge to Hold Youth Turkey Hunt

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Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in cooperation with the National Wild Turkey Federation will once again conduct a gobbler-only spring youth turkey hunt on the refuge. The Youth Turkey Hunt will include two Saturdays during the State season: April 19th and April 26th, 2014.

Pick up applications at the refuge office from 11 am to 3 pm most days. Request applications by email ENYouthHunt@gmail.com or phone 410-639-7056.

Completed applications must be received or postmarked no later than April 3, 2014. See the application for details. The drawing to select youth hunters will be held on Tuesday, April 8, 2014.

The refuge will be CLOSED from 7:30 am to noon during the Youth Turkey Hunts on April 19 and April 26, 2014.

Book Signing with Heather Davidson and Joe Lupsha at Eastern Neck NWR

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Heather Davidson

Heather Davidson

Heather Davidson is known as one of the premier photojournalists in Maryland and, even after moving to Maine in 2005, has spent at least three months each year since then back in her favorite Eastern Shore locales, concentrating on photographing the wildlife at the Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, south of Rock Hall, especially the ospreys.

Heather and collaborator Joe Lupsha took so many pictures of ospreys at the Refuge, in fact, that they decided to compile them in a book for everyone to enjoy. The result is Ospreys: Images of their Fascinating World, and she has given the Friends of Eastern Neck first rights to sell the book in the Refuge bookstore.

Ospreys: Images of their Fascinating World

Ospreys: Images of their Fascinating World

The Friends have scheduled a book signing for Heather and Joe from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 22 at the Refuge Lodge. While the book will eventually sell for $16.00 plus tax, it will be offered that day for only $15.00, tax included.

As a bonus, visitors will almost certainly be able to spot the returning ospreys busy building their nests as spring gets under way.

For more information about the signing or for directions to the Refuge, call the Refuge office at 410-639-7056.

Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge Announces Youth Turkey Hunt Starts April 27

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Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in cooperation with the National Wild Turkey Federation will once again conduct a gobbler-only spring youth turkey hunt on the refuge. The Youth Turkey Hunt will include two Saturdays during the State season: April 27th and May 4th, 2013.

The refuge will be CLOSED from 7:30 am to noon during the Youth Turkey Hunts on April 27 and May 4, 2013.

Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge Announces Youth Turkey Hunt

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Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in cooperation with the National Wild Turkey Federation will once again conduct a gobbler-only spring youth turkey hunt on the refuge.

The Youth Turkey Hunt will include two Saturdays during the state spring turkey season: April 27th and May 4th, 2013. A refuge hunt permit is required. A limited number of permits will be issued to ensure a high-quality and safe hunting experience. Three youth hunters between the ages of 10 and 16 will be randomly selected for each hunt day. Only youths ages 10 through 15 who were not chosen for a past Youth Turkey Hunt at Eastern Neck NWR will be eligible.

Applications for permits may be obtained:

There is no application fee.  There are three ways to submit the completed application.  1) Completed applications sent via mail must be postmarked no later than Tuesday, March 26th, 2013.  2) Completed applications must be dropped off at the Eastern Neck NWR Refuge Office/Visitor Contact station by 4:00 pm on Tuesday, March 26th, 2013. Completed applications must be emailed ENYouthHunt@gmail.com by 4:00 pm on Tuesday, March 26th, 2013.

The drawing will be held on Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013. All successful applicants will be notified by telephone following the drawing.

All youth hunters who have successfully drawn a 2013 turkey tag may access refuge lands for hunt scouting on Sunday, April 21st and Sunday, April 28th from 7:30am until 1/2 hour after sunset.  All youth hunters who have successfully drawn a 2013 turkey tag must attend a safety meeting the day before their scheduled hunt. This mandatory safety meeting will be held at the refuge at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, April 26th and Friday, May 3rd at the Refuge Office/Visitor Contact Station. Youth hunters must present their valid Maryland hunting license at that time. Refuge hunt permits will be issued at the briefing.

Members of the local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will be guiding each of the youths selected for the hunt. The youths may be accompanied by a non-gun carrying parent or guardian. The bag limit is one bearded turkey per youth.  All Maryland rules and regulations related to the State’s spring turkey season are applicable and will be enforced during the special hunt on Eastern Neck NWR. Detailed refuge-specific hunt regulations will be provided to the successful applicants.

Eastern Neck Refuge Open House set for December 8

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Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge is hosting a special Open House on Saturday, December 8, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to commemorate its 50th year as a National Wildlife Refuge. The community is invited to explore Eastern Neck Island and areas of the Refuge that are normally closed to the public. “This is a great time of year to bring your binoculars and learn about local wildlife and island habitat,” says Gren Whitman, president of the Friends of Eastern Neck.

Refuge facilities include miles of hiking paths through woods and meadows, a small natural history/visitor center, ponds, beach access, wildlife and waterfowl observation decks, a watertrail with public access, a butterfly garden (pretty even in winter), a caretaker’s house, picnic areas, bike racks, a small gift shop, restrooms and ample visitor parking.

The Friends of Eastern Neck, the Center for Environment & Society at Washington College, the Kent County Bird Club, a local chapter of Ducks Unlimited, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service are teaming up to offer guided walks and talks throughout the day. All the tours, talks and nature walks start at the Refuge Office. “It’s a family-friendly schedule,” says Refuge Manager Cindy Beemiller: 9:15 a.m. – Tubby Cove & Boxes Point bird walk; 10:30 a.m. – Cedar Point Wildlife Walk; 11:00 a.m. – Green Tree Reservoir tour; 1:30 p.m. – Shipyard Creek Wildlife Walk; 2:30 p.m. – Duck Impoundment & pond tour. The Open House will also feature live music, a complimentary light lunch, and children’s activities that include crafts and archery.

This rain or shine event is free and open to the public. Tickets for the tours are free and will be available at the Refuge Office the day of the event only. ENNWR is located at 1730 Eastern Neck Road in Rock Hall. For more information, contact Rachel Field rfield2@washcoll.edu or call (410) 810-7162. To learn more about volunteer opportunities through the Friends of Eastern Neck, Inc. visit www.fws.gov/northeast/easternneck/ or call (410) 639-7056.

Eastern Neck Announces October White-Tailed Deer Hunt

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Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is pleased to again provide annual public hunting of white-tailed deer on the Refuge. Deer taken at Eastern Neck NWR will not count against your Maryland state bag limit. The permitted hunting dates fall outside of the regular state season, therefore the type of weapon (crossbow, bow and arrow, muzzleloader, or shotgun with slugs) permitted is specified for each date. Hunt dates this year are as follows:

Disabled Hunt- October 3rd -See requirements for disabled hunt participation.
Youth- October 6th-See requirements for youth hunt participation.
Archery – October 12th – Crossbows, bows and arrows must comply with State of Maryland regulations.
Muzzleloader Hunts – October 15th and October 22nd- Muzzleloader rifles, muzzleloader shotguns, bows, and crossbows according to State of Maryland regulations.
Shotgun Hunts – October 26th and November 9th – Shotguns with slugs, muzzleloader rifles, muzzleloader shotguns, bows, and crossbows may be used.

All hunters must obtain a permit regardless of age. Permits are non-transferable.

Scouting will be permitted on the following dates: September 30th, October 7th, and November 4th. Check-in & check-out are not required on scouting dates, however, only participants possessing a valid Refuge hunt permit may scout.

How to apply: Applications for permits may be picked up in person at the refuge. They may also be requested by phone at (410) 228-5018. Permittees will be selected on a first come, first serve basis by mail only.

Permit Conditions: Specific hunt regulations for the Refuge and a map of the hunting area may be viewed online at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/easternneck/hunting.html, and is available at the Eastern Neck and Blackwater refuge offices.

Fees: A non-refundable administration fee of $10 per hunt is required and must accompany each application. Senior and Access Passport holders will be charged a fee of $5 per hunt. Group applications of up to five persons must be mailed in the same envelope.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

Eastern Neck NWR Shoreline Cleanup Day is Sept. 8

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Here’s a great opportunity to get outside and help make a difference…  Your volunteer help is needed for the fall shoreline cleanup at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge.  Come on down to the island from 1:00 to 3:00 pm on September 8th.

Meet at the Refuge Office/Visitor Contact Station. Wear sturdy shoes and dress for weather. Bags, gloves, sunscreen, snacks & water are provided.

To sign up, contact r5rw@ennwr@fws.gov or 410-639-7056.