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Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Cambridge

(4.8/5 based on 280+ reviews on the web)
The Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1933 as a waterfowl sanctuary for birds migrating along the critical migration highway called the Atlantic Flyway. The refuge is located on Maryland's Eastern Shore, just 12 miles south of Cambridge, Maryland in Dorchester County, and consists of over 27,000 acres (110 km2) of freshwater impoundments, brackish tidal wetlands, open fields, and mixed evergreen and deciduous forests. Blackwater NWR is one of over 540 units in the National Wildlife Refuge System, which is managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.Blackwater Refuge is fed by the Blackwater River and the Little Blackwater River. The name "blackwater" comes from the tea-colored waters of the local rivers, which are darkened by the tannin that is picked up as the water drains through peat soil in the marshes.WildlifeIn addition to a wealth of wetlands and forests, Blackwater Refuge is also host to over 250 bird species, 35 species of reptiles and amphibians, 165 species of threatened and endangered plants, and numerous mammals that can be spotted throughout the year in Blackwater's marshes, forests, meadows, and fields. During winter migration, Blackwater Refuge is also home to upwards of 35,000 geese and 15,000 ducks. The refuge is currently host to three recovering species: the endangered Delmarva fox squirrel, the delisted migrant peregrine falcon, and the recently delisted American bald eagle.
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  • We took the drive along the water and through the marshes on a winter day. The number of birds was not overwhelming but we did manage to see one eagle and some swans, which we hadn't seen in Maryland ...  more »
  • We were excited to see a few bald eagles and a lot of other birds. The paths and wooden walkways are easy to navigate. There are nice places to sit and enjoy the scenery and look for birds. 
  • We traveled through on our way from Cambridge to Snow Hill and strolled through the park during the golden hour, when the marshes were lit in the setting sun. In less than two hours we saw some bald e...  more »