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Houseguests (l-r) Bonnie Welsh, Susan Welsh, and Jackie Avignone enjoy the boat ride with their hosts, Lewes residents Andrea Neumann and Bob Fenz.
Houseguests (l-r) Bonnie Welsh, Susan Welsh, and Jackie Avignone enjoy the boat ride with their hosts, Lewes residents Andrea Neumann and Bob Fenz.
Picture of Lisa Graff

Lisa Graff

Birding by Boat on First Street


There’s a new excursion on Cape Water Taxi and Tours! Captain Maddy Voshell has studied wildlife conservancy and ornithology, and invites you to join her for Birding By Boat on the Lewes Rehoboth Canal, what she calls First Street in Lewes.

Captain Maddy, the first and only female captain and captain trainee Tom Tyndall took the helm last Sunday morning as we departed at 10:30 am under glorious sunshine and an easy breeze. Guests can bring their own beverage and binoculars and learn about  the many species that can be found in our treasured Cape Henlopen State Park.

We soon spotted osprey nests, one of about 12 which line the canal. We were excited to see lots of babies in the nest. Osprey are banded so naturalists  know they winter south. Maddy informed us that, “One twenty-four year old was spotted as far away as Venezuela.”

Blue herons, “our modern day dinosaurs” says Maddy, appear as elegant statues lining the marshes. As one soars above us, we learn their wing span measures taller than most people. Next we see cormorants, night crested herons, and a bald eagle.

The boat travels at a slow pace allowing everyone to move about if they desire. I spy a woman at the stern with a camera boasting a long lens and can’t resist asking, “Is this how you spend your retirement days?”

She laughs and introduces herself as Mary Beth Aring, who offers to show me some her shots. Struggling with my iphone, I ask her if she would send me a few pictures for this column.

Next we see willets, clapper rails, and glossy white ibis which gleam in the sunlight. Maddy explains that we won’t see seaside sparrows but we will hear their songs as they hide in the marsh..

Soon we are admiring the back porches of the homes in Cape Shores. One guest shares that her Uncle Joe is just ahead sitting on his dock. We yell in unison, “Good morning, Uncle Joe!”  He grins and says, “Come on back!”

As the boat makes its way back to the dock, Maddy spots a piece of Styrofoam so we stop so she can remove it from the water.  A few minutes later something else is bobbing up and down, and she grabs a net and scoops up a discarded can of sunscreen.

Suddenly an osprey appears directly over head of us with a fish in its talons. Immediately, a bald eagle tries to steal it. We enjoy watching the struggle and seeing the osprey win!

Both Captain Maddie and Tom grew up in the area. Tom was raised in Laurel and served as a police officer in his hometown and Georgetown. He has a commercial fishing license and is part owner of an oyster farm.  He enjoys his time on the water just like Maddy who says she will “never want a desk job.”

To learn all about the various tours offered, go to You must make a reservation; tables are assigned and distanced. Clean restroom is on board.

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Published in Cape Gazette on July 4, 2021. Read Here

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