At a Glance
Hours: Daylight hours; visitors are asked to be respectful of the people who live in the neighborhood.
Tips: Bring a spotting scope. ◾ This is a small location on a neighborhood street; the same ducks can be seen from further away at Great Marsh Park where there is much better parking. ◾ Not recommended for large groups because of limited parking. ◾ No restrooms.
Best Seasons: November through March.
Breeding Bird Atlas Block: Cambridge CW
Cambridge – Oakley Street
Oakley Street, Cambridge, MD 21613
Oakley Street is a public road in a residential area of downtown Cambridge that comes to a dead-end at the waterfront on the south shore of the Choptank River. The view from the end of Oakley Street offers the best close-up looks at wintering waterfowl in the area because the public regularly feed ducks at this location; hence ducks, geese, and swans can be viewed as close as 15 feet away at times. Often there are more photographers than birders. This is also a good site for gulls in winter and for terns in the warm months.
Over 135 species have been reported from this neighborhood on eBird. There are two eBird hotspots that hold sightings for this vicinity:
- Cambridge–Oakley Street – 106+ species
- Cambridge Waterfront–Choptank River – 143+ species
Winter (November through March) is of course best for waterfowl viewing. Often visible in large numbers and easily viewed, even without binoculars: Canvasback; Lesser Scaup; American Wigeon; Redhead; Canada Goose; Mallard; occasional American Coot or Pied-billed Grebe. Often visible further out in the Choptank River: Greater Scaup; Bufflehead; Common Goldeneye; Ruddy Duck; Long-tailed Duck; Horned Grebe; Common Loon; Double-crested Cormorant; Tundra Swan.
There is always the possibility of a rare duck (e.g., Eurasian Wigeon, Barrow’s Goldeneye, King Eider, Harlequin Duck) or gull (E.g., Iceland, Glaucous).
The end of Oakley Street is flat and paved, and so provides wheelchair-accessible viewing, but only if a convenient parking space can be found.
This is a residential area. Pets are allowed on leash; pick up after your pet. It would be inappropriate to let your dog run loose or to engage in excessive barking.
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 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.
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.
Limited on-street parking. This is the end of a dead-end public road in a residential neighborhood, and turning around can be awkward. An option is to park at nearby Great Marsh Park and walk over, or at Long Wharf Park at the corner of Water and High Streets (no entry in this Birder’s Guide, but shown on the trail map at the link at left).
Cambridge has many one-way streets, so follow these directions carefully.
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 after crossing the Cambridge Harbor waterway. After the bridge, go 1 block and turn right (north) onto Academy Street, which becomes Spring Street. Go 4 blocks and turn right onto Choptank Avenue. Go 3 blocks on Choptank and then turn left onto Hambrooks Avenue. Go 3 blocks on Hambrooks and then turn right onto Oakley Street and look for on-street parking. The waterfront is straight ahead.
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 after crossing the Cambridge Harbor waterway. After the bridge, go 1 block and turn right (north) onto Academy Street, which becomes Spring Street. Go 4 blocks and turn right onto Choptank Avenue. Go 3 blocks on Choptank and then turn left onto Hambrooks Avenue. Go 3 blocks on Hambrooks and then turn right onto Oakley Street and look for on-street parking. The waterfront is straight ahead.
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 after crossing the Cambridge Harbor waterway. After the bridge, go 1 block and turn right (north) onto Academy Street, which becomes Spring Street. Go 4 blocks and turn right onto Choptank Avenue. Go 3 blocks on Choptank and then turn left onto Hambrooks Avenue. Go 3 blocks on Hambrooks and then turn right onto Oakley Street and look for on-street parking. The waterfront is straight ahead.
Note: If you cannot find good parking at the end of Oakley Street, you can park at city-owned Long Wharf Park, a few blocks to the southeast at Water and High Streets, and walk back to Oakley Street from there. Long Wharf Park is itself a good spot to check for waterfowl but the view is obscured somewhat by a marina; it is visible on the trail map at link at left. You can also park at Great Marsh Park and walk over from there.
Dorchester County: Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge ◾ Cambridge – Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park (Dorchester County Side) ◾ Cambridge – Great Marsh Park ◾ 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 ◾ Pelot MOS Sanctuary ◾ 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 ◾ Marengo Woods MOS Sanctuary ◾ Mill Creek MOS Sanctuary ◾Pickering 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
Lawn, Ballfields, Golf CourseUrban or Small Town Landscape Jetties & SeawallsMud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal)Rivers & Streams
Features:BeginnersFree - No Entry Fee at Any TimeWater ViewWheelchair Accessible Features
Type:Chesapeake Bay Eastern ShoreDriving Tour (Roadside Birding)The Rivers of the Eastern Shore