• JanaK

Birding Trails

Updated: Jun 12, 2020

This weekend is supposed to be nice outside (few showers on Sunday). But it'sll be good to explore these trails and do some bird watching. I just recently started appreciating these creatures. I love birdsong and thanks to some Facebook posts, can see that birds have quirky interesting personalities.. They sing and dance and on occasion, cuss. Plus so many are incredibly gorgeos.


Seasonal Variation in Birding. A long list of bird species (157) has been observed at Stauffer’s Marsh over the years. Virginia rail can be found nearly year-round and are presumed to be breeding here. During spring migration, numerous warblers, flycatchers, and sparrows can be found in the woods and fields of the marsh complex and the field habitats of the north section of the preserve. Osprey and Bald Eagles are seen hunting for fish in the spring. Directions: From the intersection of Interstate 81 and route 9 at exit 16W near Martinsburg, travel west on route 9 for 6.2 miles and turn left onto Back Creek Valley Road. Continue south for 11 miles. The preserve is on the left and the main parking area is at the north end of the wetlands. 

APPALACHIAN TRAIL in Jefferson County (Sp, S, F) Seasonal Variation in Birding. This segment of the Appalachian Trail forms the eastern boundary of Jefferson County.  It is the portion of the trail that crosses Route 9 east of Charles Town. The trail in this area consists of dry woodlands with a number of small openings that accommodate a wide variety of birds, mostly in the spring. A wide variety of migrants pass through the area and can be easily observed from the trail and the small openings along the way Spring is a good time to see Worm-eating Warbler, Ovenbird, Eastern Towhee, a variety of flycatchers, vireos, woodpeckers and occasional raptors and Barred Owl.  Directions. South out of Charles Town and pick up Route 9 east. to the summit and to the Appalachian Trail parking lot on the left.    Cross the road and pick up the trail heading south.

Antietam National Battlefield (SP, S, F, W) Washington County, Maryland, encompasses over 3,250 acres of farmland, pastures, woodlots, and limestone forests Antietam Creek flows through the park. In spring and summer, Field, Grasshopper, Chipping, and Vesper Sparrows sing from fence posts and trees in the grassy fields. Eastern Meadowlark and Indigo Bunting sing from trees along the wood margins. Eastern Bluebird and Tree Swallow nest in the boxes placed along the field edges. Chimney Swift, Barn Swallow and Purple Martin hunt over the fields. Brown Thrasher, Prairie Warbler, and Yellow-breasted Chat sing from trees and shrubs in the fields. Location: 5831 Dunker Church Road,

off Route 65 near Sharpsburg, Maryland.

C&O Canal - Washington County MD. In spring, the park is alive with songbirds. Many migrating warbler species can be spotted in the trees along the trail. Wood Thrushes and Louisiana Waterthrushes are among the early arrivals. Warbling Vireos, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Northern Parulas, and Yellow-throated Warblers fill the tops of the huge Sycamore trees with song. Prothonatory Warblers arrive to nest in cavities at lower levels. Wood Ducks frequent the river edges.

Through the summer, Acadian and Great Crested Flycatchers and Eastern Wood-Pewees are among the songbirds that nest along the canal.  Northern Rough-winged Swallows and Tree Swallows hunt over the river. Cliff Swallows nest under the bridges and aqueducts. Yellow-billed Cuckoos call from the treetops. Fall is a good time to see passing raptors and migrant songbirds, and to note the arrival of Brown Creepers, and Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Flocks of Cedar Waxwings forage for berries and hunt for insects over the river. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers arrive to spend the winter. Flocks of Tundra Swans sometimes rest on the Potomac River on their way to winter in the Chesapeake Bay. Directions There are numerous access points along the C & O Canal towpath, each having unique charms. A good starting point for visitors would be to stop at one of the two Visitor Centers in Washington County, Maryland.

Eidolon Nature Preserve - Morgan Couonty provides habitat for many forest birds both in migration and during the breeding season. A variety of warblers may be seen in migration. In late spring and early summer, several breeding pairs of Cerulean Warbler can be observed along the gravel road from the Preserve entrance to the cabin, and then continuing on to the FAA tower. Also along this road, look for Red-eyed Vireo, Indigo Bunting, Great-crested and Acadian Flycatchers, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Scarlet Tanager, American Redstart, and Eastern Wood-Pewee.

The Yellow Trail goes downhill from the cabin and passes several springs. Worm-eating Warblers inhabit the slopes. Beyond the lowest spring as the trail leads back up the hill, it passes through a beautiful patch of Mountain Laurel, where Hooded Warbler is often found. Directions. From the intersection of Routes 522 and 9, take Route 9 west over Cacapon Mountain and through the village of Great Cacapon until you reach Detour Road (a total of 7.6 miles). Go right on Detour Road for 9/10’s of a mile to Orleans Road. Go right on Orleans Road and follow it up Sideling Hill for 2.1 miles.  The entrance to Eidolon will be on your right marked by a light-green metal gate flanked by two low, square stone pillars. Those who visit are asked to park outside the gated entrance and proceed into the preserve on foot.

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