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Birdwatchers identify 32 species on walk outside Berlin

Birdwatchers counted a total of 32 species on a quick walk around newly preserved property outside Berlin last month.


Birdwatchers scout out species during a walk outside Berlin on April 26.
Charlene Sharpe / Bayside Gazette

By Charlene Sharpe, Associate Editor

Prairie warblers. Bald eagles. Grackles. Gnatcatchers. 

Birdwatchers counted a total of 32 species on a quick walk around newly preserved property outside Berlin last month. Organizers are hoping events like the walk held April 26 appeal to seasoned birdwatchers like themselves as well as casual attendees who might be thinking about ornithology for the first time. Birding, after all, showcases the natural environment, gives people a reason to stay active outdoors and even benefits the economy.

“Birders spend money in our small towns and resorts on hotels, meals, and boat charters, usually during months of the year when the beaches are not bustling with tourists,” said Delmarva Birding Weekend’s Jim Rapp. 

On April 26, Rapp guided a group of about two dozen people on a walk through the Bay Club, the former golf course just west of Berlin. While the property is still being restored, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is in the process of creating a trail network at the 600-plus acre site, which will be restored to open meadows, wetlands and forest. Lower Shore Land Trust and Delmarva Birding partnered for the April 26 bird walk to showcase the site’s potential as a birding hotspot. 

Attendees craned their necks to spot quick moving birds as Rapp and Lower Shore Land Trust’s Jared Parks talked about the variety of species passing through the area and how to identify them by sight and sound. Parks described the song of the prairie warbler as the bird passed fleetingly overhead.

“It’s a buzzy call that goes straight up the scale,” he said. 

While many of the smaller species were difficult to spot, bald eagles, circling formidably around a stand of pines, were impossible to miss as they guarded their nest. Rapp noted that although the weather was bright and sunny, the brisk wind was not aiding the day’s species count.

“An east wind is not a good birding wind,” he said.

Nevertheless, the group tallied 32 species after completing a short circuit at the property. Several attendees went on to participate in more of Rapp’s Delmarva Birding Weekend activities. Parks said in the coming months, Lower Shore Land Trust was planning two more birding events, thanks to a grant geared at interesting more of the general public in birdwatching. The nonprofit has bird walks scheduled in June at Nanticoke Wildlife Management Area (June 14) and Furnace Town (June 15). Walks are also planned in October. He and Rapp are eager to see more people take an interest in birds and in turn the conservation of key natural habitats. Rapp pointed out birdwatching was also a fun way to stay active.

“The birding weekends that we host with our local partners are very social, and the field trips get people outside walking and paddling in the fresh air and sunshine,” he said. 

This story appears in the May 9, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.