The Magothy Bay Natural Area Preserve has recently been expanded by the Dept. of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR’s) acquisition of some 125 Acres. Led by DCR’s Eastern Shore Region Steward Dot Field and DCR’s Coastal Operations Steward Richard Ayers, Eastern Shore Master Naturalists have planted about 75 acres of the newly acquired land with native, southern Wax myrtles (Morella cerifera).
As part of the DCR’s habitat restoration efforts, the fragrant Wax myrtles will provide additional food and habitat for migratory temperate and neo-tropical songbirds on the Lower Delmarva Important Bird Area.
As the plants grow, Goldenrod and other native wildflowers will naturally establish in the fields among the shrubs and provide habitat for butterflies and other pollinators. Resident birds will have year-round shelter and food in the fall. Migratory songbirds will be able to stop, rest and feed on the Wax myrtle berries during fall migrations.
For those seeking easy hiking and a restoring, relaxing experience of nature, Magothy Bay NAP has mown trails through the songbird habitat into a maritime forest onto an old dike along the extensive salt marshes. Barrier islands are visible beyond the marsh and the lagoons. Numerous kinds of birds including hawks, bald eagles, herons, egrets, ibises, gulls, terns, as well as frogs, turtles and butterflies are often encountered along the trails.
For more information, see the DCR/Natural Heritage web site at www.dcr.gov/natural-heritage or the Eastern Shore of Virginia Master Naturalist web site at www.masternaturalistesva.com.