Blackwater NWR, MD

Blackwater refuge is one of my favorite places.  It’s about 100 miles (driving) east of me, and takes almost 2 hours to get there.  I first went in 2006, and didn’t make it there for sunrise until my second visit.
The 100 mile sunrise

Since then, I’ve been there probably more than 100 times. It’s in the top 3 places I’ve been too (with Great Falls and the US National Zoo being the other two).

Here are a few of my favorite images.

Snow geese, double-bird shot.
Double Blue Goose @ Blackwater Refuge, MD 2010

Great Blue Heron w/ fish
Great Blue

An American Kestrel w/ some food and flying upside down…
Top Gun

A pair of eagles in the morning watching their territory
Eagles @ Blackwater

I have this one printed big on my wall, I love the lush green grass and still water reflecting the clouds above. Taken with Nikon D4.
National Treasure!

Finally this flock of Red-Winged Blackbirds was fun to see and shoot from the Wildlife Drive.
Red-Winged Black Birds!


Here is my flickr set for Blackwater Refuge.  And here’s a blog I made as a landing page for Blackwater refuge.

If you decide to go, you should get there for sunrise, avoid late spring and summer (bugs!!!), and get a Duck Stamp which covers entry fees for a year (~July to July) in all National Wildlife Refuges in the country. You can get these at the refuge, or at a post office. has an eagle cam in the winter and an osprey cam in the spring and summer.

My current favorite camera is the Nikon D850, and I primarily use the Nikon 600mm.

If you are on a budget or are looking for a good deal – I recommend you investigate these two:

  • Nikon 200-500mm – I don’t own this, but I have heard great things, and it is very affordable. I know a few people who use this regularly and get great results. I may get it to use instead of my 200-400mm and 80-400mm.
  • Nikon D500 – this is 20MPs and 10 frames per second. It’s a great high megapixel high frame rate body. I own this and used it regularly for birds and nature – until I got the D850. The D850 is slower and full frame, but for me I am good with going slower and have a larger field of view (FX vs DX).

Here’s a shot with D500 and 600mm…
Make Me Bend

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