Visits to two local Audubon sanctuaries with photographer Cam Miller

While rural Frederick County is gobbled up more and more by development, there are a couple of true oases in the midst of encroaching subdivisions that provide shelter and habitat for birds, butterflies, deer, and other wildlife. For this photographer who loves to walk with a camera in hand, they are a place to find quiet beauty and endless photographic opportunity, and they will remain so for many, many years to come.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Click on any of the images below to open a larger version.]

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The Fred Archibald and the Audrey T. Carroll Audubon Sanctuaries are maintained by the Audubon Society of Central Maryland. Both were created when the landowners endowed their property for the preservation of wildlife.

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Although the sanctuaries are primarily for the use of Audubon Society members, they are open to the public. Nature lovers, photographers, walkers, bird watchers and families may be on the grounds, as long as the posted rules are obeyed by all who visit.

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The sanctuaries are not well marked, and parking is minimal. At the Fred Archibald Sanctuary at 6011 Boyer’s Mill Road west of New Market, there is a small sign near what looks like a driveway. It simply says “Audubon,” and is easily passed by. Just pull up near the “gate,” step over the pipe, and you’re in. Continue down the hill, and you’ll come to a small pavilion where you are asked to sign in and date your visit.

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Within the Fred Archibald Sanctuary, you’ll find fields of native grasses intermingled with goldenrod, purple thistle, milkweed, and Joe-Pye weed. Mowed lanes are for walking both the perimeter of the sanctuary and between portions of fields. There are bird houses with attached predator collars, a purple martin house, and a few benches for sitting and resting among the 140 acres of fields, forest, and streams.

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The Audrey Carroll Audubon Sanctuary (ACAS) is located west of Mount Airy, at 13030 Old Annapolis Road. Again, parking is minimal — it’s little more than a pull off next to the road. The sanctuary consists of 129 acres of diverse habitat, including upland meadows, wetlands, woodlands, two streams and a pond. Once the home of Audrey Carroll, who donated the land after her death, the property also has an abandoned dairy and concrete outbuildings; the house has recently been demolished.

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At any season, visitors to the sanctuaries will find insects, birds, deer, squirrels, and other mammals. Butterflies are abundant in the summer. If you take a weekday walk there, you might encounter people doing bird banding or field maintenance, but mostly you will find yourself alone with nature.

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On the weekends, guided nature walks occur regularly. Check the Audubon website for a schedule: http://www.centralmdaudubon.org/

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We’re fortunate to have these two large sanctuaries here in Frederick County; they provide sanctuary not only for wildlife, but for us humans, as well.

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Check out this website for many lovely photos by Cam Miller.

And this page to see Cam’s Daily Photo Walk Blog.