Date: 9/26/18 10:46 am
From: Jim Felley <jdfelley...>
Subject: [MDBirding] Birds and reptiles on the towpath
I birded along the towpath upstream of Riley's Lock and then down to Violett's Lock this morning. Highlights were a lot of Blue Jay families on the move, and a Northern Harrier soaring above Violett's Lock.

Those were the bird highlights. The reason I turned around above Riley's Lock is that there was a small (1 ft) copperhead slowly moving across the trail. Near Violett's Lock I saw a 2 ft black rat snake. And a couple of weeks ago I came upon the body of a large (2 ft) copperhead upstream of Pennyfield Lock, again on the towpath (it looked like a bicycle had run over its head).

I think that the wet and flooded conditions are causing snakes to move to higher ground. In this case, the towpath is the 'higher ground'. So keep a lookout around your feet as you scan for birds in the trees and sky.

Jim

Jim Felley
Gaithersburg, MD

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