Today we had the opportunity to paddle alongside the Great blue heron rookery on Cox Creek in Stevensville, MD with the Chesapeake Conservancy and Capital SUP. There were three exclusive tour dates available but if you missed out this time, don’t fret, because more paddle ventures are being planned for the future.
The Cox Creek heron rookery is located on 28 acres of protected land on Kent Island. On our paddle, several herons, and even ospreys, could be seen taking flight, and high up in the canopy of trees, herons could be seen standing in their nests, of which there are about 30 on this property.
This is a separate protected area from the rookery where the Conservancy’s webcams are located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. In early 2016, a private homeowner contacted the Chesapeake Conservancy expressing an interest in sharing the rookery located on their property to the world, via a webcam. After raising $10,000, the Conservancy launched the cam that spring. The homeowner chose to name the heron couple Rell and Eddie after the surfers Rell Sunn and Eddie Aikau.
Many of us in the PropTalk office are avid watchers of all of the Conservancy’s webcams (osprey, peregrine falcon, and great blue heron), so after following the webcams for some time, it was an amazing experience to be able to see the rookery first-hand. And the water was truly the best way to experience it. All morning we could hear the sounds of ospreys calling and herons vocalizing in their nests as water lapped against our kayaks.
The tour was led by Melissa Ehrenreich, director of development at the Chesapeake Conservancy, and Kevin Haigis, co-owner of Capital SUP in Annapolis. Both recognize the critical need to get people out on the water to inspire conservation. Whether you participate in a paddle tour or watch the live cams at home, it is not enough to be a passive observer if these habitats are to be preserved. So next week, the Chesapeake Conservancy is launching its Protect the Nest campaign.
Protect the Nest is a 24-hour crowd-funding campaign that will run from 3 p.m. Monday, May 21 to 3 p.m. May 22. The goal is to reach $100,000 within the 24-hour time-frame, and if that does not happen, all pledges will be returned to donors. Consider donating at chesapeakeconservancy.org/donate.
Stay tuned for more paddle trips in the future with the Chesapeake Conservancy and Capital SUP; we will be updating our calendar with dates as they become available. And don’t forget to check out the great blue heron live webcam on the Chesapeake Conservancy’s website (above). For more info on ospreys and the osprey cam, click here.
Next up with Capital SUP: Come out and help clean the 50 oyster cages suspended from the docks of Capital SUP (808 Boucher Ave., Annapolis) from 5 to 7 p.m. May 24. Be prepared to get a little dirty! They recommend wearing long sleeves shirts or jacket, pants, gloves, and shoes you don’t mind getting dirty. This project is a partnership between Capital SUP, Live Water, Spa Creek Conservancy, and Oyster Recovery Partnership. If you can’t make the May event, there will be more opportunities throughout the summer. Future oyster cage cleanings are scheduled for June 21, August 16, and September 13. Email Kevin@capitalsup.com for more information.