Date: 11/21/19 2:44 pm
From: Dan Small <small.m.dan...>
Subject: [MDBirding] Leconte's Sparrow - Conquest Preserve QA Co. 11-21-2019
Hi Everyone,

I was lucky enough to find and photograph a Leconte's Sparrow at Conquest
Preserve in Queen Anne's County today.

See my eBird checklist for photos and a map of it's location -
https://ebird.org/checklist/S61628301.

eBird hotspot info - https://ebird.org/hotspot/L9379112

This is a good opportunity to let the birding community know about this
property that I don't think many people know about. Conquest Preserve is
located west of Centreville along Conquest Rd between the Chester River and
the Corsica River. It is a county owned property that was farmed up until a
couple of years ago. Currently, Washington College and Partners for Fish
and Wildlife are working with county staff to create wildlife habitat in
addition to open space for public passive recreation. Restoration plans
include around 125 acres of grasslands, 35 acres of wetlands and 45 acres
of afforestation. The wetlands and the trees will be planted next year, but
the large grasslands spread out around the property look amazing and there
are lots of grassland dependent birds using them. I would estimate that
there are currently about 400-500 acres of open grassland/fallow habitat.

This is a large property with walking and horse riding trails, though they
are not yet clearly marked so be prepared to explore. In addition to the
habitat mentioned above, there are also freshwater wetlands (though some of
them are currently dry), tidal wetlands, beach, wood lots and lots of
scruby edge along the fields, i.e. a ton of good birding options

This is and will be a great place to bird. Rich Mason found a
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher this summer at the preserve, there were loads of
Grasshopper Sparrows nesting there as well as several Northern Bobwhite
calling this summer. I bet there will be Short-eared Owls in addition to
loads of Northern Harriers this winter and it is perfect shrike habitat.
I'll be working with the county to put up Kestrel and Barn Owl boxes this
winter (if anyone would like to donate money or box material please email
me).

It would great if more people birded this property as it would show the
county that creating and maintaining grassland habitat is not only
beneficial for wildlife but there is also community support behind projects
like this.

Dan Small
Chestertown, MD

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