Cedar Hill Marina & Park
20945 Harbor View Road, Bivalve, MD 21814
Cedar Hill Marina and Park is a little gem of a spot. In fact, it’s the #3 eBird hotspot in Wicomico County. This 85-acre park has a lot going for it, starting with the excellent view of the open waters of the Nanticoke River. The county-owned park is located on the eastern shore of the Nanticoke, southwest of Salisbury in the town of Bivalve (yes, Maryland has a town called Bivalve, as is only fitting for a place known for mussels, clams, and oysters). Looking out from the Marina, the huge Fishing Bay Wildlife Management Area will be barely visible on the other side of the wide river in Dorchester County, where Elliott Island Road winds through prime marshland. Upriver and inland on the Wicomico side are more conservation lands, including Nanticoke Wildlife Management Area, Ellis Bay Wildlife Management Area, and several large tracts of the Chesapeake Forest Lands. Cedar Hill Marina and Park benefits from the proximity of all these preserved properties and their abundance of birdlife.
The offshore waters are the focal point for birding the park. Be sure to check the rocky jetties and groins for shorebirds, gulls, and terns. Also check the small sandy beach and the marshy shoreline north of the marina for shorebirds and waders. More than 50 acres of the park are wooded with a mix of conifers and hardwoods, so there is good diversity of bird species. A walking trail leads through the wooded section. In the eastern section of the park, there is a small vegetated impoundment and it is possible to view this from its edge to check for waders, shorebirds, and marsh-dwelling songbirds.
The visitor amenities make this a good spot for a family outing. There is a large pavilion with picnic tables and grills and a playground area. There are also sports fields and tennis and basketball courts. The marina accommodates transient boaters and has rental slips. The small beach serves as a soft launch site for canoe and kayaks. Fishing and crabbing (license required) are permitted. As part of Maryland’s Clean Marina Initiative, the marina offers a glass, plastic and aluminum recycling station, an on-site emergency spill kit and fishing line recycling.
Most birders combine a visit to Cedar Hill with stops at nearby Tyaskin and the Wetipquin Marsh to the north and Roaring Point to the south. Also close at hand is the Nutter Road area in the Fair Meadow Complex of the Chesapeake Forest lands, adjacent to the western edge of Ellis Bay WMA. The main part of Ellis Bay WMA can be visited on the way to or from Cedar Hill Marina.
More than 150 species have been reported on eBird from the Cedar Hill Marina, making it the #3 hotspot in Wicomico County.
As might be expected, Cedar Hill Marina is a good spot for viewing wintering waterfowl, with 22 species reported, including both dabblers and divers. Many species linger here into April, and American Black Duck is a possible breeder in the area. Both Red-throated and Common Loon can also be seen in fall and spring.
Wild Turkey is a confirmed breeder in the Breeding Bird Atlas block that contains Cedar Hill, and Chuck Will’s Widow is a possible breeder.
There is a short list of reported shorebirds, including American Oystercatcher, Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Dunlin, Least Sandpiper, Wilson’s Snipe, Spotted Sandpiper, and Solitary Sandpiper. The Killdeer, Dunlin, and Spotted Sandpipers occur in numbers and should be easy to see during appropriate seasons.
Herring Gulls and Ring-billeds are present through most of the year; Great Black-backed are here from September through April, Laughing from March through early November; and Bonaparte’s in April. Terns include Caspian, Common, Forster’s, and Royal from spring through early fall. The third Breeding Bird Atlas project being conducted from 2020 through 2024 will attempt to confirm whether Laughing Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Forster’s Tern, and Royal Tern breed in the area.
Double-crested Cormorants are abundant year-round. Brown Pelicans are sporadic from March through October. Great Blue Herons are here year-round, but other waders are found only sporadically and in small numbers.
Ospreys and Bald Eagles are abundant and are local breeders; the eagles stay year-round.
The woods hold a good selection of woodpeckers and flycatchers. Both crows, American and Fish, are abundant year-round. Breeding swallows include Purple Martin, Tree, and Barn. The woods are good for kinglets in the winter, as well as Red-breasted Nuthatch and Brown Creeper. Brown-headed Nuthatches are present but breeding has not been confirmed. Three wrens breed in the area: Carolina, House, and Marsh.
Eastern Bluebirds may be present – check the grassy edges near the sports fields. Wood Thrush and American Robins both breed in the area and Hermit Thrushes overwinter.
The park hosts a good selection of sparrows, including Chipping, Field, Fox, Dark-eyed Junco, White-crowned, White-throated, Savannah, Song, Swamp, and Eastern Towhee. Most of these are wintering species but the list of confirmed or probable/possible local breeders includes Towhee, Chipping, Field, Song, and Swamp.
Yellow-breasted Chat may be present in fall, during post-breeding dispersal. Orchard Orioles nest in the park, and Baltimores migrate through. Red-winged Blackbirds , Brown-headed Cowbirds, and Common Grackles are abundant.
Thirteen species of warblers have been reported; most of these have been fall migrants. Common Yellowthroat and Pine Warblers are local breeders.
Summer Tanager might be found in spring or fall; breeding is probable but not confirmed. Northern Cardinals, Blue Grosbeaks and Indigo Buntings are local breeders.
Pets are permitted on a leash.
Parking areas on north side of marina are wheelchair friendly. A short strip of grass must be crossed to reach picnic pavilion. The beach area and soft launch area is not wheelchair accessible.
Cedar Hill Marina and Park lie just outside the Nanticoke Important Bird Area, as designated by the National Audubon Society.
For boaters, details on the Cedar Hill Marina facilities can be found within the MD DNR Public Water Access Guide. ◾ The Nanticoke River Explorer’s Brochure is available as a free download from the Paddle the Nanticoke website, developed by partners including the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, MD DNR, and the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network of the National Park Service. ◾ The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Tri-County Bird Club, serving Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties. The Tri-County Bird Club offers field trips and meetings with presentations by guest speakers, free and open to the public.
A short YouTube video posted by a private citizen features aerial footage of the park and marina, and will give you a good feel for the habitat and the park.
Designated paved parking areas near the boat slips.
Cedar Hill Marina and Park are located southwest of Salisbury.
From the Western Shore: Take US Route 50/US Route 301 to the Bay Bridge and continue south and then east on US Route 50 toward (but not all the way to) Salisbury. Just after Mardela Springs, turn right to go south on MD Route 347/Quantico Road. In about 3 miles, at an intersection with Old Athol Road, turn left to stay south on Quantico Road for another 1.5 miles. Then turn right to go west on MD Route 349/Nanticoke Road. Stay on Nanticoke Road for 7.5 miles. At a fork in the road at Cox’s Corner, Nanticoke Road will intersect with MD Route 351/Capitola Road (aka the Blue Crab Scenic Byway). BEAR RIGHT here to stay on Nanticoke Road. Continue west on Nanticoke Road for just over 2 miles, to the town of Bivalve. Turn right onto Cedar Hill Parkway to enter the park. If you miss the turn, just make a right at the next intersection, which is the other half of Cedar Hill Parkway, which makes a horseshoe through the park.
From points north on the Eastern Shore: Use US Route 301 or MD Route 213 to reach US Route 50 southbound. Then follow directions above.
From points east of Salisbury, including the Ocean City area: Take US Route 50 west toward Salisbury. Take US Route 50 Business through Salisbury, or take the US Route 50 Bypass around the north side of Salisbury. On the west side of Salisbury, turn left to go south on MD Route 349/Nanticoke Road. Stay on Nanticoke Road for 15 miles. At a fork in the road at Cox’s Corner, Nanticoke Road will intersect with MD Route 351/Capitola Road (aka the Blue Crab Scenic Byway). BEAR RIGHT here to stay on Nanticoke Road. Continue west on Nanticoke Road for just over 2 miles, to the town of Bivalve. Turn right onto Cedar Hill Parkway to enter the park. If you miss the turn, just make a right at the next intersection, which is the other half of Cedar Hill Parkway, which makes a horseshoe through the park.
Wicomico County: Ellis Bay Wildlife Management Area, Nanticoke River Wildlife Management Area – Nutter’s Neck, Pemberton Historical Park, Roaring Point & Nanticoke Harbor, Tyaskin Park & Wetipquin Park
Dorchester County: Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Chesapeake Forest – North Tara Road, Elliott Island Road / Fishing Bay Wildlife Management Area (Eastern Section),
Somerset County: Deal Island Wildlife Management Area, Fairmount Wildlife Management Area, Irish Grove MOS Sanctuary, Janes Island State Park, Rumbley Boat Ramp
Worcester County: Pocomoke State Forest – Hickory Point Cypress Swamp Natural Area
Bottomland DeciduousConifersHedgerowsUpland Deciduous Lawn, Ballfields, Golf CourseStormwater Retention PondUrban or Small Town Landscape Agricultural Crop Fields or Fallow FieldsSandy Beach or Dunes Forested SwampFreshwater Marsh or FloodplainJetties & SeawallsMud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal)Rivers & Streams
Features and Amenities:
Ball Fields or Other SportsBeginnersBoat or Canoe/Kayak LaunchFishingFree - No Entry FeeHiking/Walking TrailsParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaPlaygroundRestroomsWater ViewWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families
Community and Urban ParksCounty ParksThe Rivers of the Eastern Shore