A Great Day by the Bay

Jim and I were up early and heading east toward St. Michael's, Maryland which is located on the Eastern Shore. I was hired to tell two sets of nature stories at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum as part of their Fall Family Day Celebration.

The one thing we had not bargained for was driving east - into the rising sun - the blinding rising sun - particularly as we drove across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. I am not that comfortable on soaring bridges in the first place and not being able to see really kills any fun. Interesting start for the day. With my vision still blurred by the sun I decided I would tell Rooster Calls the Sun. At the beginning of that Chinese Folktale there are 9 suns in the sky - I felt I could relate to that. Blinded.

I noticed many formations of geese flying 0ver-head - the eastern shore is part of the migratory path - and decided The Talkative Turtle was a must to tell.

While I checked in and prepared for the first set Jim roamed the campus with the camera. I knew he was enjoying being on-the-water , a treat for us, and that he would be taking a look at all the exhibits. And there was a lot to see - an old lighthouse, a 1901 Skipjack in the repair shed being re-done to mention only two. Later we did have our crab lunch at the "Crab Claw" restaurant just outside the gate of the museum. We sat over-looking the St. Michael's harbor
enjoying clam chowder and splitting a very generous and delicious crab salad.

I told stories in the Bay History Building surrounded by old maps, ship models, and other artifacts connected to the history of the bay - even an old hand hewn canoe made from a huge tree. This rich history is fascinating and friendly docents are ready to tour the exhibits with you to bring it to life.

My story programs alternated with presentation by a very knowledgeable naturalist from the Salisbury Zoo.
She brought a few live animals with her - one a very interesting stuffed specimen of a Nurtia.
She explained that the nutria was not native here but had been introduced into the area in the early 1800s for a new source of fur. The scheme failed but the nurtia (a rodent - see the feet and the long tight tail ) stayed on and multiplied. Today they are wreaking havoc with the habitat.

This owl - a barred owl - has a wing missing. It was rescued brought to the zoo. The Barred Owl has a yellow beak and I wish you could see in this picture - brown eyes. Its the only typical owl that has brown eyes - the others have yellow eyes.

Just check out the face on this Maryland Terrapin - our state's official reptile and therefore a protected species.

Did you know those dot patterns on the Terrapin are like a fingerprint - completely individual - turtle to turtle?
The terrapin is a swimmer and has webbed feet. This terrapin, now five years old, came to the zoo as a hatchling. Because it has been raised in capitivity it cannot forage for itself - so it could not survivie in wild.
The children were fascinated to see these animals so up-close-and personal. And I loved getting the know the characters in my stories even better.

When my work was done Jim and I joined a group for a cruise on the Bay aboard the Skipjack
H.M. Krentz. To say it was a wonderful experience doesn't begin to touch it.
Jim was in hog heaven and on that boat I closed a circle in our family history and started on a new story. More on that tomorrow.