DHS Squirrel
Geographical Index > United States > Maryland > Anne Arundel County > Report # 24952
Report # 24952  (Class B)
Submitted by witness on Monday, October 27, 2008.
Bird watcher experiences unusual activity while hiking in the Oxbow Lake Nature Preserve
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YEAR: 2008

SEASON: Spring


STATE: Maryland

COUNTY: Anne Arundel County

LOCATION DETAILS: Oxbow Lake Nature Preserve

NEAREST TOWN: Laurel, Maryland


OBSERVED: I am a 44 yr. old woman, I am submitting this in request of my husband & grown son. As an avid 'birder' (loves bird watching), I was taking an early morning walk (6:45 a.m.) around Oxbow Lake to see what birds were 'out & about'.

Almost as soon as I started the short trail around the lake, I noticed that there was no activity.....none, no birds, no deer, no squirrels, nothing. This seemed VERY odd to me, because it was a beautiful spring morning, the sun was shining and there wasn't even the smallest breeze in the air. Then I noticed that the birds weren't even singing, I could not hear one bird song or call, which is very unusual because there is ALWAYS a lot of bird activity here, especially in the early morning. Then, I noticed that not even the frogs, or the peepers were making any was complete silence.

When I reached the part of the trail where I usually see deer, there was nothing. It was just about in this area where I started to smell this terrible odor....hard to explain, a strong musky smell, not like a dog or a skunk but a definite heavy odor of musk, one I have never smelled before and I have spent a lot of time in the woods. While I was standing quietly trying to figure out what/where the odor was coming from, a live tree 30-40 ft. high (unknown species) fell about 100-150 ft. from me, it just fell, and there was not even a small breeze that day! I have spent my childhood in the deep woods of Adirondack Mountains. and this just went against every natural law I could think of.....and believe me I tried to rationalize this!

I then had this intense feeling that I was being more like being stared at, and then I got the sense that perhaps the tree had been pushed, like a warning.
I decided I should start making my way back towards my car, still not hearing or seeing ANY wildlife. Just before getting back in my car I went to an overlook and all of a sudden I heard from the opposite side of the lake a loud howling, it echoed thru the marsh area. After 3-4 deep, loud howls, again silence. I walked back to my car and drove home.




TIME AND CONDITIONS: Early morning 7:00 - 7:30 a.m.
Beautiful, warm sunny day, not even a cloud in the sky.

ENVIRONMENT: Forest, Lake & Swamp habitat.

Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator D.A. Brake (PhD):

A phone interview was conducted with the witness who provided the following additional details and information.

Access to the 70 acre Oxbow Lake Preserve is through a residential community and the site is popular with local birders. No other cars were observed in the roadside parking area before or after the incident. The witness was in the preserve for a total of 30-45 minutes and did not see or hear any other birders or hikers.

The small lake is U-shaped and there is a single point of access to the trail which ends about halfway around the lake. The witness had walked approximately 10 minutes on the trail when she heard the tree fall. Upon hearing the tree begin to fall, the witness turned and observed the top of the tree hitting the ground. The witness noted that the tree was alive based on green-leaf top; the 30-40 feet height was estimated based on the height of surrounding trees as it fell. The tree fell in a relatively dense area of surrounding trees and brush and the witness did not see any movement near the tree.

The witness continued to walk approximately 200 yards further on the trail which rises up above the lake. She then remained quiet and stationary for approximately 10 -15 minutes while looking for waterfowl in and around the lake.

Upon getting a sense of being ‘watched’, she turned around and began walking back down the trail and briefly stopped at the trail location where she saw and heard the tree fall. No strong odor or smell was noted upon her second pass through this part of the trail.

The witness continued walking back down the trail and briefly stopped at a clearing overlooking the lake. She described the howls as ‘primate-like’ and the first two howls were made very close together, followed by a 5-10 second pause and then one, possibly two additional howls.

The witness has been back to the preserve several times since the incident and at different times of the day, and has not heard or seen anything else unusual.

Oxbow Lake Preserve is located in the far northwestern part of Anne Arundel Country and is part of the Little Patuxent River watershed which feeds the larger, more expansive Patuxent River watershed located in Montgomery County a few miles to the northwest. The preserve contains an abundant amount of birds and waterfowl including red-tailed hawks, Canadian Geese, Blue-winged Teal, Great Blue Heron and Great Egret.

This incident took place approximately 8 miles from Report #5297 and despite being a relatively developed area there is a large tract of undeveloped land that connects these two areas. Reports #3214 and #3602 are also within 20 miles to the southeast of this incident.

About BFRO Investigator D.A. Brake (PhD):

D. Brake holds a PhD in Immunology and attended the Maine 2008 expedition.

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