Delmarva Nature and Wildlife Summit

Bordered by the Chesapeake Bay on the west and the Atlantic Ocean on the east, the Eastern Shore is a land of coastal wetlands and seashores, diverse wildlife, and seasons that bring character to its golden marshes and wide open bays, perfumed piney woodlands, and sandy coastal beaches. Come capture images of pristine field sites throughout the Delmarva Peninsula and learn from our expert instructors. Small class sizes allow for one-on-one instruction in the field creating a truly unique experience. Housing provided on site. Instructors include NANPA members Jim Clark, Nikhil Bahl, Brian Zwit, and Jamie Konarski Davidson, along with Michael Traubel. Held in Wallops Island, VA.

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NATURE’S VIEW: Photographing the Virginia Rail of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Story and photographs by Jim Clark

The notes of the rail came loudly to my ear, and on moving toward the spot whence they proceeded, I observed the bird exhibiting the full ardor of his passion. Each time it passed before her, it would pause for a moment…and bow to her with all the grace of a well-bred suitor of our own species.—John James Audubon, 1840

What Audubon witnessed is something most folks will never see as this secretive marsh bird is heard more than it is seen. In 1926, ornithologist Arthur Cleveland Bent wrote this about how to see a Virginia rail: “Take up one’s station near a pond or marsh frequented by them and watch patiently, silently, and immobile….” Wow, patience. What a concept.

Virginia rail at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland.

Virginia rail at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland.

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