A few Maryland Master Naturalists braved the cold and the wind to find birds at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship this morning. Our trip leader was Joe Coleman, one of the founders of the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, former president of the Audubon Naturalist Society and immediate past president of the Virginia Society of Ornithology. Joe led us through the varied habitat of the Blue Ridge Center for over three miles. We heard and saw 19 bird species including one of my favorite, the Brown Creeper. They are usually so hard to spot due to their diminutive size and great camouflage, but we managed to find two!
The Blue Ridge Center has a rich history in terms of human interactions with the land. Joe pointed out several log cabins found on the property including a log house which was constructed in the late 1800s. Not much is known about the history of this particular house, but artifacts found in the area indicate that it could have been occupied from the mid to late 19th century to the mid 20th century.
Another historic site on the property is this farmstead believed to have been constructed sometime in the mid 1800s. The farmstead, referred to as Everheart Homeplace, includes this main house and various outbuildings including a small chicken coop as well as a collapsing spring house and barn. As you can see from this picture, the house has undergone partial remodeling in the recent past. It is believed that the house was renovated in the 1970s to serve as a vacation home.
Another interesting aspect to our walk was running into a few farm animals on our way back to the center. The Blue Ridge Center hosts an independently-operated organic farm which grows USDA Certified Organic produce. You can take a hike in the 900 acres property and get fresh local produce at Mountain View Farm on your way out! Their produce can also be found at various farmer's markets in the area or through their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
You can actually stay overnight at the Blue Ridge Center by renting its restored 19th century farmstead. The Demory-Wortman house sleeps 10 and can be rented directly through the center for $180.00 per night off season November 1 to March 31 and for $220.00 per night from April 1 to October 31. All rental proceeds go directly to the maintenance of the land preserve. There is so much to do in the area. The Demory-Wortman House is located 3 miles from historic Harpers Ferry, W.V., and is only a few miles away from the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and the C&O canal.
If you are interested in joining Joe for future birding trips, please refer to the Blue Ridge Center’s events calendar and the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy’s events calendar. The next birding trip at the Blue Ridge Center is November 26th. Joe also leads birding trips at the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve. The next trip for that location is December 10th. Please contact Joe Coleman at 540-554-2542 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested! Please note that these locations have tons of opportunities for nature programs and field trips on all sorts of topics aside from birds!
I am putting together the next Maryland Master Naturalist outing which will be a hike on the C&O Canal in December. Stay tuned for more details! If you have a trip you want us to do next year, please let me know!
|Black Vulture||Blue Jay||White-breasted Nuthatch|
|Turkey Vulture||American Crow||Brown Creeper|
|Red-tailed Hawk||Carolina Chickadee||Carolina Wren|
|Downy Woodpecker||Tufted Titmouse||Eastern Bluebird|
|American Robin||Northern Mockingbird||Northern Cardinal|
|Song Sparrow||White-throated Sparrow||Dark-eyed Junco|
Want to become a Certified Maryland Master Naturalists? Visit the University of Maryland Extension office’s website!