Open Water

The water adjacent to salt marshes provides an ideal habitat for ducks, reptiles, and amphibians that feed on submerged vegetation or other animals associated with the marsh.
Black Duck
Scientific Name: Anas rubripes
A dark body, light head, and yellow bill distinguish the black duck from the mallard hen, with her more uniform color and orange bill. Both species dabble and tip from the water’s surface for their food. Plant matter forms the bulk of their diet, but they also eat small animals, especially the saltmarsh snail. Size: 19 to 22 in. (48 to 56 cm)
Canvas Back Duck
Scientific Name: Aythya valisineria
Once an abundant winter visitor to the Chesapeake Bay, the numbers of canvasbacks have declined due to drainage of ponds and marshes of the Canadian prairie where this duck breeds in summer. The adult male has a distinctive rusty red head, but both sexes have a “dished” face when seen in profile.
Size: 19 to 24 in. (48 to 61 cm)
Lesser Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Scientific Name: Aythya affinis
Populating local creeks and waters, winter flocks of this duck may number in the thousands. Like the related canvasback, the scaup dives beneath the surface to seek food in water both shallow and deep. The female is distinguished by a white face, while the drake’s glossy head is solid black.
Size: 15 to 18 in. (38 to 46 cm) 
Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos
Familiar and unmistakable is the green head of the mallard drake, but the mottled brown hen is easily confused with the similar black duck—a confusion shared with the ducks themselves! Mallards and black ducks interbreed, with many local birds being the product of this mixing.
Size: 18 to 27 in. (46 to 68 cm)
Snapping Turtle
Snapping Turtle
Scientific Name: Chelydra serpentine
Thanks to its excellent binocular vision, the snapper strikes accurately at such prey as fish or ducklings. This formidable turtle also takes food that can’t escape—carrion and a considerable amount of water plants. The snapping turtle favors bodies of water with soft, muddy bottoms, and often enters salt marshes.
Size: top shell 12-18” (30-46 cm)
Water Snake
Scientific Name: Nerodia sipedon
This common snake of salt marshes and other wetlands in the eastern United States is often confused with the venomous cottonmouth. Although not poisonous, the water snake is aggressive and can administer a nasty bite. The female, larger than the male, bears her young alive, and litters may be enormous—a brood of ninety-nine is on record!
Size: 4 ft. (120 cm)
Diamond Backed Terrapin
Diamondback Terrapin
Scientific Name: Malaclemys terrapin
Overharvesting this succulent terrapin reduced its population, but changing tastes and protective laws have permitted this brackish- and saltwater turtle to stage a comeback. The upper shell, or carapace, has diamond-shaped, angular markings, hence its name.
Size: 5 to 9.5 in. (13 to 24 cm)