Perryville Waterfowl Field Trip

26 February 2023
Leader: Andy Ednie

Eleven observers participated in this field trip to historic Perryville to watch for waterfowl on the Susquehanna Flats at the source of the Chesapeake Bay. The weather was cool and overcast with a stiff wind from the south, blowing right into our faces while trying to watch waterfowl out in the bay. A total of 49 species were seen, including 15 species of waterfowl.

We started at Rodger’s Tavern at the Perryville Town Docks, where Washington crossed the river and Rochambeau’s French troops camped after the Battle of Yorktown. The town docks has a history of attracting late lingering wanderers like Painted Bunting and Orange-crowned Warbler but nothing that exciting was found. A nice collection of waterfowl was seen included Pintail, Common Merganser, Pied-billed Grebe and American Coot.

We then visited Perryville Community Park at the head of the bay. This area once had the largest collection of waterfowl on the East Coast. The flats have huge mats of submersed aquatic vegetation to attract swans, geese, and ducks but market hunting decimated the population. The final death nail was Hurricane Agnes that washed huge amounts of sediment that killed off the underwater plant life. But, nature does heal itself, and after several decades there are thousands of waterfowl back feeding at the flats.

The final stop was a trip to the Elk Creek off Hollingsworth Lane where a Common Gallinule was previously reported. After a search of the ponds and boat ramp, no Gallinule was seen. Tree Swallow and a brief look at an immature Red-headed Woodpecker flying away by a single observer was added.

Here are the trip eBird lists:

Perryville Town Dock (24 species +1 other taxa)

Perryville Community Park (30 species +1 other taxa)

Elk River Park (29 species)

Submitted by Andy Ednie.

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