1. Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer)
These lovely treefrogs are some of the first animals to announce spring to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. They are usually brown, and the males emit a small “peep”-every second during mating season. Fun fact about spring peepers: when cold weather approaches, they produce glucose and freeze themselves in order to hibernate. They “thaw” once the weather is warm again.
2. Ducklings and goslings
Some of the best pictures from our Facebook Photo Contest feature these adorable babies. While they look cuddly from afar, it’s important not to get too close: female ducks and geese will attack if they feel their offspring are being threatened by a predator. In their eyes, that would be you.
Although these birds are present year-round, we also love to see great blue herons.
3. Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)
These whimsically-named plants are a beautiful feature of the Canal during springtime. The common name comes from the idea that the flowers look like white pantaloons hung upside down, similar to a common Dutch practice of hanging them while doing laundry. They are poisonous to deer, which makes them a good choice for some deer-infested gardens. Sadly, their blooms only last for a few weeks.
Dutchman's Breeches, photo by Will Parson, courtesy Chesapeake Bay Program
4. Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)
These lovely flowers are one of the most photographed plants on the C&O Canal. They line certain parts of the towpath in large patches. You can enjoy these blankets of blue almost anywhere along the Canal, including downstream from Great Falls, near Pennyfield Lock, near Brunswick, and along the Billy Goat Trail. They also are found in abundance along the towpath in the Williamsport area.
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park lets visitors explore history and the Potomac River along the 184 mile canal from Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD. There are a number of visitor centers and sites to visit all along the Potomac so take a look at them all.