Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Maryland Biodiversity Project

You just never know what creature, avian or otherwise, will show up in the Free State, (That's Maryland, for you out of towners).

Witness this beautiful, and rare for us, Trumpeter Swan, which for the past 10 days or so has graced Cash Lake at the National Wildlife Visitors Center.

We are lucky in this fairly small state to have a wide range of habitats - from the Appalachian Mountains in the west with their unique plants and birds (Ruffed Grouse! Northern Goshawk!) to our central farms to the unique coastal habitat, with its Loblolly pines, crustaceans and Brown-Headed Nuthatches.

We even have ocean, with sharks, whales, dolphins, sea turtles, other marine life and yes, of course, birds such as Atlantic Puffin, South Polar Skua and - seen for the first time last August - Herald Petrel.

 Now, to catalogue all this, comes the amazing Maryland Biodiversity Project. 368 species of bees and 101 species of mammals (that includes us humans). Who knew???

Overall, the site has so far catalogued 9,476 species of living things in Maryland, with more than 2,600 phorographs .

The site, established last year, is run by ace Maryland birders and naturalists Bill Hubick and Jim Brighton. To make things even cooler, the two are doing a "Biodiversity Challenge" in 2013, trying to see 1,000 species if plants and animals. Wish them luck  ... and follow  their Facebook site as well!

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