Mill Creek Sanctuary (Talbot County)
In 1964, MOS purchased 108 acres for use as a wildlife sanctuary. After a generous donation and the acquisition of additional parcels, Mill Creek Sanctuary now stands at 156 acres. The Sanctuary is divided on an east-west line by Route 662 and on a north-south line by Mill Stream. The property is fragmented further by several east-west stream branches and deep ravines where differences in elevation of over 10 feet can occur. Nearly the entire sanctuary is covered by a deciduous forest including Tulip Tree, various oaks and hickories, American Beech, Sycamore, Red Maple, Tupelo and Black Cherry, with some individual trees exceeding 30 inches in diameter at breast height. An exception occurs in the broad, muddy portions of the Mill Stream flood plain which is characterized by swampy, scrub-shrub, non-tidal wetlands and herbaceous tidal wetlands.
A parking lot for about eight vehicles is located behind an inconspicuous gate off Route 662 (look for the adjoining private property with a brick house). There are benches and a weather-proof bulletin board in the parking lot and a trail emanates from there. A shelter with a fireplace and a picnic table can be found along the trail running behind the private property. Sitting north of Route 662 is the Royce R. Spring Memorial, a stone marker with an inlaid plaque commemorating the 1965 gift of 30 additional acres to the Sanctuary.
Identified on the Sanctuary are over 400 different plants including many grass, sedge, lily, orchid, oak, smartweed, rose, clover, heath, mint and composite species, and a similar number of fungi, including coral, polyphore, amanita, bolete, waxy cap, brittle flesh, and pale-spored species. Numerous arthropod, mollusk, fish, amphibian, reptile, bird and mammal species have also been seen. The tract has been home to several species of protected forest interior dwelling birds, among Kentucky Warblers, Northern Waterthrush, and Acadian Flycatcher. There are also breeding Luna Moths, Forest Snails, Tasselated Darters, Gray Treefrogs, and Five-lined Skinks. Over a dozen species are endangered, rare, threatened or protected. To avoid disturbing or destroying them, it is important to stay on the designated trail.
Two other sources provide more detailed information on Mill Creek Sanctuary. One is Know your Sanctuaries – Mill Creek, an article written by Dickson J. Preston and appearing in the March 1971 issue of Maryland Birdlife. The other is a comprehensive report by Jan Reese, MOS Mill Creek Preserve, Talbot County: Resources, Preservation, Management, 1985, 82 pp. A copy of the latter can be obtained from the author.