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hashemdbouk

Hi all,

 

I am trying to plan out my first fossil hunting trip of 2018, and I would love to go to Calvert Cliffs. I was wondering if anyone had any insight or advice regarding hunting spots, etc... any advice would be appreciated!

 

Thanks,

H.

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There are a few nice places on the cliffs. If your looking for teeth and bone, Brownies beach is the place to go. Bring waders so you can get south past the point and the teeth are there for the taking. Timing to get there when the most erosion has taken place and the least people have already checked (as well as tides) help significantly in my experience, but you can find things even when all three of these are against you. Good luck! Feel free to ask me any questions here or over PM! 

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MeargleSchmeargl

Stratford Hall is a neat place to go. Get some history added with the prehistory visiting Robert E. Lee's place. 2 in one combo!

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hashemdbouk
13 minutes ago, WhodamanHD said:

There are a few nice places on the cliffs. If your looking for teeth and bone, Brownies beach is the place to go. Bring waders so you can get south past the point and the teeth are there for the taking. Timing to get there when the most erosion has taken place and the least people have already checked (as well as tides) help significantly in my experience, but you can find things even when all three of these are against you. Good luck! Feel free to ask me any questions here or over PM! 

 

6 minutes ago, MeargleSchmeargl said:

Stratford Hall is a neat place to go. Get some history added with the prehistory visiting Robert E. Lee's place. 2 in one combo!

 

Thanks both! @WhodamanHD I'll definitely PM you to ask questions. Since i'll be going down from NY, i will plan to spend a few days, so will try to hit up other stuff around the area, so yay for some sight seeing and hopefully lots of shark teeth :)

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HoppeHunting

The Calvert Cliffs of Maryland are a fantastic spot to go fossil hunting! Great choice. There are many sites along the bases of the Cliffs, which run for over 20 miles on the Maryland coast of the Chesapeake. The areas where you can get public access are Bayfront Park a.k.a. Brownie's Beach, Matoaka Cabins, and Calvert Cliffs State Park. Brownie's is personally my favorite spot, but you can get some great finds at all of them. As far as prices goes, Brownie's and most other sites only charge an entree fee during the warm months (Memorial Day to Labor Day) so right now admission is free. If you do plan to go to Brownie's, here's what I suggest you do:

 

Try to get there early if possible. Although it is not vital, arriving early can ensure that you're the first one to snatch up any finds that are laying out in the open. The park is open from dawn to dusk, which basically means if there's some light, you're allowed in the park. On a GPS the park is normally marked as its more formal name, Bayfront Park. It is just outside the small town of Chesapeake Beach. The parking lot is relatively small and fills up quickly during the warmer months, but right now during the off season parking shouldn't be a problem especially if you do arrive early. Something nice about the lot is that it's very close to beach unlike some other sites where you have to walk a mile or two before you reach the water. Once on the beach, I suggest you head South (to the right hand side of the entrance) towards the cliffs. You will still find teeth near the entrance, but not as many and the teeth that you do find will typically be very small. If you're into sifting though the sand bank near the entrance is one of the best places to do that at this site. If you're in it for the bigger teeth however I say head South to the cliffs and walk along the water line where the tide is breaking, but also check higher up on the beach as well where you see accumulations of gravel and shells. When you reach the cove (big wall of cliffs), you can just go around the corner and keep walking, but FIRST I suggest you stop there and take a good look around. There are lots of fallen trees and branches that people often pass by and I've found some good teeth hidden in that area. Once you go round the corner, the cliffs continue for about a mile before you reach a bunch of big rocks and a sign that says "Private Property." This is usually where most people turn around, but if you reach that point during low tide, you can actually keep walking and go past it because by Maryland law, walking below the mean high tide line is not considered trespassing, so you will not be breaking the law. If you go past the rocks, you'll find a small area of beach where people often leave untouched. I found a big Hemi here, so it may be worth checking out if you can access it. Aside from that, I just say follow the basic guidelines of beach fossil hunting. Walk slow, lay low, and don't go too close to the cliffs! They can and will fall. Oh, and make sure you look through fallen chunks of the cliffs. People walk past these, but they can yield some crazy finds. Brownie's has plenty of the falls because the cliffs there are pretty unstable, so again, lots of caution. Definitely time your trip well in terms of weather and tides. Good luck!

 

If you'd like some great additional information on the Calvert Cliffs, here's a link to fossilguy's website. You can use it for identification as well. Hoppe hunting!

 

http://www.fossilguy.com/sites/calvert/index.htm

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hashemdbouk

@HoppeHunting that's fantastic, thank you for all the details! After reading this, i may try to go next week, maybe even take a day off work so i can have a head start. Thanks again!

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In addition to the excellent advice already provided, I would suggest checking the tidal charts. You want to avoid high tide when most or all of the beach is submerged. You want to get there an hour, two or three before the low tide to maximize your collecting time. As long as you're in that area, you might consider checking out Purse State Park on the Potomac. It is about an hour away from Bayfront Park and is a much older (Paleocene) fauna and thus good for a change of pace. You'll want to check the tidal charts for there as well. Because of the variation of tides I've been able to visit both sites at low tide in the same day. Good luck. 

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SailingAlongToo
15 hours ago, MeargleSchmeargl said:

Stratford Hall is a neat place to go. Get some history added with the prehistory visiting Robert E. Lee's place. 2 in one combo!

 

Just remember at Stratford Hall, stay inside the roped in public beach area. Unless you are on a "special guided trip" with SH folks, if you go outside the ropes you are trespassing, which is never good. Even more important, they now have SH reps patrolling the beach and are prosecuting everyone caught trespassing.

 

Quite a few of those SH beach patrol reps are on TFF.

 

Cheers and happy hunting!

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MeargleSchmeargl
1 hour ago, SailingAlongToo said:

 

Just remember at Stratford Hall, stay inside the roped in public beach area. Unless you are on a "special guided trip" with SH folks, if you go outside the ropes you are trespassing, which is never good. Even more important, they now have SH reps patrolling the beach and are prosecuting everyone caught trespassing.

 

Quite a few of those SH beach patrol reps are on TFF.

 

Cheers and happy hunting!

Yep! Literally need to stay in the bounds of the law there.

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  • 2 weeks later...
hashemdbouk

Thank you all for the advice! I'm heading over this week, wish me luck (and many teeth)! :)

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Tidgy's Dad
6 minutes ago, hashemdbouk said:

Thank you all for the advice! I'm heading over this week, wish me luck (and many teeth)! :)

Good luck and many teeth! :fingerscrossed:

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  • 3 weeks later...
hashemdbouk

Here's a delayed recap of the trip!

A little snow storm the night before couldn't stop me from driving down from NYC to good old North Beach, MD, to try my hand at finding some Calvert Cliffs beauties (shark teeth, that is...). A pretty uneventful drive (4.25 hours, not too bad) got me straight at brownies beach, which was a short walk down to the beach, and that beach (while small) is beautiful, especially when you get there at sunrise! For the next 1.5 days, i spent the days walking up and down the beach, made it once around the bluff to the little beach area (storm had knocked down a couple of trees around the bend making it hard to get there), visited and hiked the Calvert Cliffs State Park (where i met an awesome volunteer who showed me some teeth he'd found including one he couldn't identify which i helped him with thanks to pics here and by the fossil guy), tried out a small brewery (Scorpion brewing, great IPA if you're ever in that area) and had good food and a relaxing time! While i was not lucky enough to find any big teeth myself, i did see a guy pull out of the surf a 5" Meg that was broken in half but still a beauty! And i got to meet two people from the forum! They said they were not too active on the forum but were visiting the area and had seen this post which made them come to Brownies beach! small world :) And thanks to @HoppeHunting for the advice to bring a sifter, to make up for not finding any major big teeth, i spent a good chunk of time sifting and found some great small teeth. And i found my first vert and ray teeth for first time! Mild success in terms of teeth, great success in terms of stepping away from work and having a relaxing, fossil-centered trip! Thank you all again for the advice. Below are some pics of the beach and my finds. Happy to go again with someone more knowledgeable, i'd still love to snag a nice, large tooth... Cheers

 

 

road to beach.jpg

beach 2.jpg

sunrise.jpg

beach 1.jpg

vert.jpg

2.jpg

1.jpg

3.jpg

5.jpg

4.jpg

gastropod.jpg

teeth on plate.jpg

teeth 2.jpg

crab.jpg

crab pincer.jpg

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Glad you got some good hunting in! Do return, the big teeth are there, waiting for you to find them...

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Nice finds!

Always nice to get away from work, particularly when You get to look for fossils.

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HoppeHunting

Fantastic pictures! Love the report, and glad to hear that you found my advice helpful. You got some cool finds, and it looks like you really enjoyed the beautiful Brownie's Beach. Best of luck on your next fossil adventure!

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MeargleSchmeargl

That's quite a good vert! I also noticed what looked like a sponge/coral in the 3rd to last image. Close-up? :)

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hashemdbouk
On 4/5/2018 at 11:21 PM, MeargleSchmeargl said:

That's quite a good vert! I also noticed what looked like a sponge/coral in the 3rd to last image. Close-up? :)

 

@MeargleSchmeargl i think it is a coral. Here are some more pics, let me know what you think.

 

coral 2.jpg

coral 3.jpg

coral 1.jpg

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Glad to hear that you had a good time on your trip! Congratulations on finding some nice teeth!

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Tidgy's Dad

Lovely pictures of the landscape and the fossils. 

Some super finds. 

Glad you had a good trip. :)

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2 hours ago, hashemdbouk said:

let me know what you think.

I think it’s Asterhelia palmata, a coral found in the cliffs. I think they are cool!

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Hashem, that was my wife and I that you talked to on Brownies. It was nice to meet you and looks like you found quite a bit more after we saw you. Good job!  The next time I make it up that way, looks like I’ll have to try sifting. From looking at your finds and a couple of other recent posts, that seems to yield decent results, at least for the smaller stuff. The big teeth probably hang out at more “exclusive” places.

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2 hours ago, ClearLake said:

The big teeth probably hang out at more “exclusive” places.

The big teeth are at Brownies, just gotta use every variable to your advantage. Simply walking to the south part of the beach increased your chance, going around the bend increases it tenfold. Every point where someone turned back but you didn’t increases your chance. Sometimes they make it to the main beach too, and sometimes people miss it. Fossil hunting is the art of seeing what others don’t. Just something to keep in mind when hunting the cliffs (or any popular fossil site).

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hashemdbouk
8 hours ago, ClearLake said:

Hashem, that was my wife and I that you talked to on Brownies. It was nice to meet you and looks like you found quite a bit more after we saw you. Good job!  The next time I make it up that way, looks like I’ll have to try sifting. From looking at your finds and a couple of other recent posts, that seems to yield decent results, at least for the smaller stuff. The big teeth probably hang out at more “exclusive” places.

Glad to have met you both as well! Hopefully our paths and fossil hunts cross again :)

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hashemdbouk
10 hours ago, WhodamanHD said:

I think it’s Asterhelia palmata, a coral found in the cliffs. I think they are cool!

Thanks for the ID, agree I think it's super cool!

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