At a Glance
Hours: The NRMA is open 9 am to 5 pm daily; the county-owned fishing and parking area is open dawn to dusk.
Tips: Bring a scope. ◾ Pets are permitted on a leash. ◾ The Talbot Bird Club usually conducts Sunday morning walks here during all of August and early September. See MOS Calendar for details. ◾ Black Walnut Point NRMA is an active hunting area. Be aware of hunting seasons and plan your visit accordingly. ◾ No restrooms. ◾ Parking is not permitted within the NRMA. Park at the public fishing area north of the Naval Research Lab Weather Station.
Best Seasons: Fall and spring for migrating birds; winter for waterfowl.
Breeding Bird Atlas Block: Tilghman CW
Black Walnut Point Natural Resources Management Area
4628 Black Walnut Point Road, Tilghman, MD 21671
Black Walnut Point Natural Resources Management Area is a 53-acre hunting area located on the southern tip of Tilghman Island in Talbot County, operated by the MD Department of Natural Resources. The NRMA offers spectacular views of the Chesapeake Bay, Black Walnut Cove, and the mouth of the Choptank River. Rugged sandy or dirt paths crisscross the property and a gravel road traces the western edge of the peninsula. There is a small woodland, second-growth and scrub, and some wetland areas. Fishing and birding are the primary activities.
A privately operated bed and breakfast, the Black Walnut Point Inn, is located on a 6-acre portion of the property at the point and is not open for general public visitation. Please do not trespass. Also note that the wooded tract immediately east of the parking area at the north end is also private land and should not be entered.
Birders can walk the gravel road and the natural-surfaced paths in the main part of the NRMA, beyond the entrance gate. The foot-paths are all accessed from the gravel road. A wide variety of waterfowl and other bird species can be observed, including Osprey and Bald Eagles, which nest in the area.
There is no parking area in the NRMA itself, but vehicles can be parked just north of the NRMA in a Talbot County-maintained public fishing area. The fishing area ends near the fenced US Naval Research Lab weather station along the west side of the road.
Canoers and kayakers can explore the area via a water trail that encircles Black Walnut Cove; see “Special Features” below for more information about water access.
Over 230 bird species have been reported on eBird at the hotspot for Black Walnut Point. Waterfowl predominate in the winter, with 29 species reported, including all three scoters and all three mergansers, Canvasback, Redhead, and Long-tailed Duck.
Offshore fishing attracts gulls year-round, and in the summer there are terns, herons, and Brown Pelican. Wild Turkey is found year-round, and Northern Bobwhite is occasional. Brown-headed Nuthatch can be found throughout the year. A variety of swallows are resident in summer, and Swamp Sparrows are present in fall, winter, and spring. The NRMA is a staging area for migrating songbirds in fall and it is not at all unusual to find 16 species of warbler on a single morning, with 29 warbler species reported in all. Olive-sided Flycatcher has been reliable in fall. Thrushes, vireos, and raptors also pass through.
Although the foot-paths at Black Walnut Point NRMA are not wheelchair accessible, those who are mobility-impaired can get excellent views of the Chesapeake Bay from a car at the fishing area. One can also drive slowly along the gravel road through the NRMA for some roadside birding.
Pets are permitted on leash; pick up after your pet.
A water trail encircles Black Walnut Cove, part of a system of water trails in the area. You can download a PDF version of the free Tilghman Island and Bay Hundred Water Trails map and brochure. The brochure contains much useful information about the natural resources and the unique culture of the area. Canoe/kayak put-ins to access the water trail are available nearby at Black Walnut Cove Landing or Bar Neck Landing. For more details on the water trails of the area, you may wish the use MD DNR’s interactive Public Water Access map.
The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Talbot Bird Club, which offers field trips and meetings with informative presentations, all free and open to the public.
A Voice for the Rivers is a special episode of Outdoors Maryland from Maryland Public Television that focuses on the work of the riverkeepers in safeguarding and working to improve the health of the major rivers of the Upper Eastern Shore: the Sassafras, the Wye, the Miles, the Chester, and the Choptank. There is beautiful footage of the open waters, marshlands, and shoreline forests, as well as discussion of the challenges of pollution and sea level rise.
Park on the west side of the road just north of the fenced US Naval Research Lab weather station. This public fishing area is owned by Talbot County. There is no parking farther south in the NRMA itself.
From southbound US Route 50 near the town of Easton: Bear right onto MD Route 322/Easton Parkway and follow in a southwest direction for just over 2 miles. Then turn right onto MD Route 33/St. Michael’s Road. Follow this road for approximately 25 miles, passing through St. Michael’s and crossing the bridge at Tilghman onto Tilghman Island. MD Route 33 ends at the entrance to Black Walnut NRMA, at the southern tip of Tilghman Island.
If approaching Easton on northbound US Route 50: Bear left onto MD Route 322/Easton Parkway and follow northwest for 3.1 miles. Then turn left onto MD Route 33/St. Michael’s Road. Follow this road for approximately 25 miles, passing through St. Michael’s and crossing the bridge at Tilghman onto Tilghman Island. MD Route 33 ends at the entrance to Black Walnut NRMA, at the southern tip of Tilghman Island.
Caroline County: Adkins Arboretum ◾ Choptank Marina ◾ Daniel Crouse Memorial Park ◾ Idylwild Wildlife Management Area ◾ Martinak State Park ◾ Skeleton Creek Road & Bethlehem Road ◾ Tuckahoe State Park (Caroline County)
Dorchester County: Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge ◾ Cambridge – Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park (Dorchester County Side) ◾ Cambridge – Great Marsh Park ◾ Cambridge – Oakley Street ◾ Cambridge – Sailwinds Park & Visitor Center ◾ Chesapeake Forest – North Tara Road ◾ Elliott Island Road / Fishing Bay Wildlife Management Area (Eastern Section) ◾ Hooper’s Island ◾ Taylor’s Island
Queen Anne’s County: Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center – Horsehead ◾ Conquest Preserve ◾ Ferry Point Park ◾ Matapeake Clubhouse & Beach / Matapeake Fishing Pier & Boat Ramp ◾ Terrapin Nature Park ◾ Tuckahoe State Park (Queen Anne’s County) ◾ Wye Island Natural Resources Management Area
Features:Birding By CarFishingFree - No Entry Fee at Any TimeHiking/Walking TrailsHuntingParkingPets AllowedWater ViewWheelchair Accessible Features
Type:Chesapeake Bay Eastern ShoreDriving Tour (Roadside Birding)Hunting AreasWater Trails