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The Jug Bay Natural Area of Patuxent River Park provides some of the best birding in Maryland. More than 250 species have been recorded here, more than 100 of those confirmed as nesting. The marshes boast one of the largest stands of wild rice in Maryland, attracting large numbers of migrating Sora Rails and waterfowl in the early fall.
Jug Bay's 350 acres of water are very shallow...only about a foot deep beyond the river channel. The valley through which the Patuxent flows here is actually no wider than the valley immediately upstream or downstream, but it has spread out over its floodplain, a marsh nestled between low river terraces. Other activities available here include walking through wetlands, participating in guided boat tours, hiking and horseback riding over eight miles of woodland trails, boating and canoeing, fishing, camping, hunting, and visiting a museum and outdoor exhibits of nineteenth century life along the Patuxent, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.
Jug Bay Natural Area is a component of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland, a nationwide network of diverse coastal estuaries that serve as laboratories for scientific research, education and monitoring.