At a Glance

Hours: Dawn to dusk.

Cost: Free.

Tips: Bring a spotting scope. ◾ No restrooms. ◾ Alcohol is prohibited.

Best Seasons: November to March – when waterfowl are plentiful.

Breeding Bird Atlas Blocks:Cambridge NW, Cambridge CW

Local MOS Chapter: Talbot Bird Club

Cambridge – Great Marsh Park

Somerset Avenue, Cambridge, MD 21613
(410) 228-1955

Great Marsh Park is a city-owned park in Cambridge, situated on a point of land that juts out into the Choptank River from the south shore. Great Marsh Park is thus ideally situated for excellent views of the river in almost every direction, making it a good waterfowl viewing area in the winter.

To the north of the park, the sheltered waters of Hambrooks Bay often hold flocks of waterfowl and gulls. Gulls may also be found on the jetty that stretches along Hambrooks Bar, visible jutting into the river at the north end of Hambrooks Bay. It is worth examining that jetty carefully to look for rare gulls and other goodies.

Ample parking is available in the park. Note that, despite the name, there is no marshland habitat at this waterfront park, which is just over 5 acres in size.

Birdlife:

Over 110 species have been reported on eBird for Great Marsh Park. The best season is October through March, when the regular assortment includes Common Goldeneye; Bufflehead; Common Loon; Horned Grebe; Canvasback; Lesser Scaup; Double-crested Cormorant; Tundra Swan; and Snow Goose. Occasionally, there may be scoters; Greater Scaup; and Pied-billed Grebe. Gulls are abundant throughout the winter.

There is a little patch of scrub and wetland habitat on the northwest side of Somerset Avenue, across the street from Great Marsh Park proper, that may be worth a look.  Also within walking distance, there is a freshwater pond (Pink’s Pond) visible from the south side of Hambrooks Boulevard between Glasgow Court and Chelsea Drive.

Song Sparrows, House Finches, and House Wrens, absent from much of the county, breed in Cambridge in small numbers, so check the residential yards for these.

Parking:

Large paved lot  in the park at the point.

Special Features:

Great Marsh Park offers excellent barrier-free, wheelchair-accessible views of the Choptank River. ◾ Check out the “Birding in the Heart of Chesapeake Country” brochure produced by the Dorchester County Tourism Office and MD DNR. You can also pick up a printed copy at the nearby Sailwinds Park & Visitor Center in Cambridge. The brochure outlines five birding/driving tours through Dorchester County, and also has an overview of birds and habitats in the county. ◾ The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network and the Maryland Historic Trust have produced a series of water trail maps for the Choptank River and Tuckahoe Creek, available as a free download. ◾ There is no local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society centered in Dorchester County, so many local birders are members of the Talbot Bird Club, which offers field trips and meetings with informative presentations, all free and open to the public.

Multimedia:

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.

Directions:

Cambridge has many one-way streets, so follow these directions carefully. Usually birders stop at the nearby Oakley Street waterfront first, so the directions start there.

To reach Great Marsh Park from the waterfront at Oakley Street in Cambridge: Go back to Hambrooks Boulevard and turn right to go northwest for one block. Turn right onto Belvedere Avenue and then a quick left onto Hambrooks Boulevard. Follow Hambrooks Boulevard northwest for 3 blocks and then turn right onto Somerset Avenue, which will take you to Great Marsh Park on the waterfront.

From the Chesapeake Bay Bridge: Take US Route 50 south and east toward Cambridge. Just after crossing the Choptank River Bridge and upon entering the town of Cambridge, turn right (west) onto Maryland Avenue, which becomes Market Street and then Muse Street after crossing the Cambridge Harbor waterway. Turn left on Gay Street and go 1 block. Then turn right onto Poplar Avenue, which soon becomes Locust Street, and go 8 blocks. Turn right onto Glenbrook Avenue and go 3 blocks, then turn left onto Hambrooks Boulevard. Go 2 blocks and then turn right onto Somerset Avenue and follow to where the street ends at the waterfront and parking for Great Marsh Park.

From points north on the Eastern Shore: Take US Route 301 south to MD Route 213, then follow Route 213 south to its intersection with US Route 50. Take US Route 50 south toward Cambridge. Just after crossing the Choptank River Bridge and upon entering the town of Cambridge, turn right (west) onto Maryland Avenue, which becomes Market Street and then Muse Street after crossing the Cambridge Harbor waterway. Turn left on Gay Street and go 1 block. Then turn right onto Poplar Avenue, which soon becomes Locust Street, and go 8 blocks. Turn right onto Glenbrook Avenue and go 3 blocks, then turn left onto Hambrooks Boulevard. Go 2 blocks and then turn right onto Somerset Avenue and follow to where the street ends at the waterfront and parking for Great Marsh Park.

From Vienna and points south: Take US Route 50 north and west toward Cambridge. After passing a Popeye’s on the left at Henry Street, go one more block and turn left (west) at the traffic signal onto Maryland Avenue, which becomes Market Street and then Muse Street after crossing the Cambridge Harbor waterway. Turn left on Gay Street and go 1 block. Then turn right onto Poplar Avenue, which soon becomes Locust Street, and go 8 blocks. Turn right onto Glenbrook Avenue and go 3 blocks, then turn left onto Hambrooks Boulevard. Go 2 blocks and then turn right onto Somerset Avenue and follow to where the street ends at the waterfront and parking for Great Marsh Park.

Nearby Sites:

Dorchester County: Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge ◾ Cambridge – Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park (Dorchester County Side) ◾ 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

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)

Somerset County: Deal Island Wildlife Management Area ◾ Fairmount Wildlife Management Area ◾ Irish Grove MOS Sanctuary ◾ Janes Island State Park ◾ Rumbley Boat Ramp ◾ Smith Island

Talbot County: Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park (Talbot County Side) ◾ Black Walnut Point Natural Resources Management Area ◾ Claiborne Landing ◾ Mill Creek MOS SanctuaryPickering Creek Audubon Center ◾ Poplar Island

Wicomico County: Cedar Hill Marina & Park ◾ Ellis Bay Wildlife Management Area ◾ Nanticoke River Wildlife Management Area – Nutter’s Neck ◾ Pemberton Historical Park ◾  Roaring Point & Nanticoke Harbor ◾ Tyaskin Park & Wetipquin Park ◾ Ward Museum & Schumaker Pond

Habitats:

Urban or Small Town Landscape Freshwater Marsh or FloodplainJetties & SeawallsMud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal)Rivers & Streams

Features:

BeginnersBoat or Canoe/Kayak LaunchFishingFree - No Entry FeeParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaPlaygroundSwimmingWater ViewWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families

Type:

Chesapeake Bay Eastern ShoreCommunity and Urban ParksThe Rivers of the Eastern ShoreWater Trails