Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2013 Maryland Midwinter Waterfowl Survey

During the 2013 Maryland Midwinter Waterfowl Survey, researchers saw an overall increase in the total number of waterfowl compared to last year. Canada geese and snow geese numbers were up but crews observed fewer ducks, compared to 2012.

The total number of ducks observed during the survey was 175,500, lower than the 230,600 counted in 2012. The dabbling duck count of 72,800 was below the 96,600 counted in 2012.  Most of the decline in dabbling ducks can be attributed to fewer mallards being observed.

The total number of diving ducks observed was 98,100, also lower than the 125,300 counted last winter. The scaup count was one of the lowest in recent history. Unseasonably mild winter weather during the weeks leading up to the survey resulted in a delay in the arrival of most diving ducks in the Bay, especially scaup.

Canada geese (462,000) and snow geese (83,300) were noticeably more abundant during this year’s survey compared to 2012.  Improved gosling production in 2012 contributed to higher goose numbers, combined with snow cover in New York and southern Canada that encouraged geese to migrate further south into the Bay region in late December.

The survey was conducted the week of January 6, 2013 throughout the Atlantic Flyway and is used as an index of long-term wintering waterfowl trends, especially for brant and tundra swans.

Each winter, during the first weeks of January, pilots and biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) count ducks, geese and swans along Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay shoreline and Atlantic coast.

In Maryland, the survey is conducted by four aerial survey teams that make visual estimates of wintering waterfowl that are observed in coastal and tidewater habitats of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

source: MD DNR

Monday, February 11, 2013

Maryland Outdoor Recreation Stakeholder Evaluations

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking citizens for their input on State outdoor recreation facilities and services in areas throughout Maryland. The Department gathered information from those in Southern Maryland earlier this month.

The recreational evaluations are the first step in a comprehensive statewide effort to enhance existing recreation areas in Maryland, these include; State parks, forests, wildlife areas and trails.

DNR will ask participants to assess the extent to which outdoor recreation facilities, programs and services meet the needs of the community and identify future demand and need.

The public input will help guide the update of the Maryland Land Preservation and Recreation Plan, which will serve as a roadmap for future State outdoor recreation facilities and services.

The Department has hired a nationally-known parks and recreation management consulting firm, GreenPlay, LLC, to oversee the Recreation Component of this planning process.

Maryland Outdoor Recreation Stakeholder Evaluations

Western Region - March 5 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Greenbrier State Park, 21843 National Pike, Boonsboro

Eastern Region -  March 6 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Talbot County Community Recreation Center, 10028 Ocean Gateway (Rt. 50), Easton

Central Region - March 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Howard County Robinson Nature Center, 6692 Cedar Lane, Columbia

Cost: Free

source: MD DNR

Friday, February 1, 2013

Maryland Winter Seafood - Oysters - Perch

A variety of local seafood is available in Maryland during the winter season. Oysters are available in many areas, either shucked or in the shell.

Several species of fresh fish are also available in seafood markets and restaurants. One of the most sought-after species of locally harvested fish is the yellow perch. Yellow perch harvests began in January, and end when the commercial quota is achieved in late February or early March. White perch are also available in Maryland seafood markets during the winter.

Both types of perch are small in size but are highly regarded for their mild, sweet flavor. In addition to yielding fillets, female perch often contain roe (fish eggs). Perch roe is considered a local delicacy. Roe is usually prepared by rolling in flour and frying or fresh roe can be mixed with poultry eggs and served scrambled.