At a Glance
Hours: Daylight hours, generally open February 1 through October 10. Call ahead to confirm that the auto tour is open.
Tips: Bring scope and prepare to use it in your car. ◾ You must remain in your car – no walking. ◾ No restrooms.
Best Seasons: Late winter through early fall.
Breeding Bird Atlas Blocks: Rock Hall CW, Rock Hall CE, Rock Hall SE, Rock Hall NW
Chesapeake Farms & St. Paul’s Millpond
7319 Remington Drive, Chestertown, MD 21620
Chesapeake Farms, formerly known as Remington Farms, is a 3,300-acre agricultural research center located southwest of Chestertown in Kent County. The property is devoted to the development, evaluation, and demonstration of advanced agricultural practices and wildlife management techniques, which are designed to be environmentally sound, productive, economically viabl, and socially acceptable. Now owned by Corteva Agriscience, a spinoff of Dow-DuPont, the farm was originally established by the owner of the Remington Gun Company and then was purchased by the DuPont Company. In 1997, DuPont donated a conservation easement on the property to protect it in perpetuity. Chesapeake Farms offers vast swaths of deciduous and coniferous forests, agricultural fields, numerous man-made freshwater ponds and impoundments, extensive wetland habitat, and extensive shrub-scrub habitat. It is a privilege to bird here, in an environment free from traffic and other distractions.
Public access to Chesapeake Farms is provided through a self-guided auto tour route. You can pick up a printed brochure with information on the tour route stops at the farm office on Remington Drive off of Ricauds Branch Road, or access the tour information on the web. There are no public walking trails at Chesapeake Farms, and you must remain in your car at all times, in order to avoid disturbing wildlife, in particular the many waterfowl that inhabit the numerous ponds along the auto tour route. The auto tour is generally open during daylight hours from February 1 to October 10, but may be closed at times during that period because of road conditions or other factors. Call 410-778-8400 to check on the status of the tour route.
While visiting Chesapeake Farms, you should stop in at St. Paul’s Church, which is east of the Chesapeake Farms office, at the intersection of Ricauds Branch Road and Sandy Bottom Road. From the churchyard, you can view St. Paul’s Millpond, which may hold waterfowl, shorebirds, or waders and is favored by swallows in summer. The churchyard at St. Paul’s contains many shrubs and trees and is a good place to look for sparrows.
A great way to visit Chesapeake Farms is to volunteer to help during the annual Lower Kent County Christmas Bird Count, which generally takes place on a Sunday in mid-December. The Lower Kent County Christmas Bird Count circle includes all of Chesapeake Farms, and permission is usually given to walk the property. See the map of Christmas Bird Count circles and zoom to the Lower Kent County Circle for information on participating.
Over 205 species have been reported on eBird from Chesapeake Farms as a whole (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L445555). There is a separate hotspot for the Auto Tour Route (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L977161), with 175 species reported. There is also a separate eBird hotspot for the nearby St. Paul’s Millpond, with over 140 species reported (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L454731).
Chesapeake Farms is probably best known for its waterfowl, with 27 species reported. Some of the fields and hedgerows are actively managed for Northern Bobwhite, and they are relatively easy to see and hear during the summer months. Another attraction at Chesapeake Farms are the shorebirds that use the ponds and impoundments, primarily during spring and fall migration; 26 species have been reported. The ponds also provide good habitat for wading birds: Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Green Heron, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, and Glossy Ibis are all regular.
Osprey and Bald Eagle nest at Chesapeake Farms, and are numerous and easy to see. Golden Eagle is a rare visitor during winter and early spring. Northern Harrier is present from fall through spring. Other hawks include Cooper’s, Sharp-shinned, Red-shouldered, and Red-tailed. Rough-legged is a rare visitor some winters. American Kestrel, Merlin, and Peregrine Falcon are also found on the farm.
In spring, summer, and fall, the woods and hedgerows hold a selection of migrating or breeding flycatchers and vireos. Fourteen species of sparrow have been reported at Chesapeake Farms, including wintering species such as White-throated, White-crowned, Savannah and Swamp, and breeders such as Grasshopper, Chipping, and Field. A Golden-Crowned Sparrow, a great rarity for Maryland, created a sensation in the winter of 2010-2011.
Other specialty birds at Chesapeake Farms include Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, and Yellow-breasted Chat. Horned Larks may be found in the agricultural fields year-round, and American Pipits may be present from winter through early spring.
Reports include 23 species of warblers, mostly during migration, but Ovenbird, Kentucky Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Yellow Warbler, Pine Warbler and Prairie Warbler all breed at Chesapeake Farms. Both Summer and Scarlet Tanagers also breed here, as well as Indigo Bunting and Blue Grosbeak, both of which are numerous
Roadside along the auto tour route. You must remain in your car. There are no walking trails.
Since Chesapeake Farms is visited via an auto tour and there are no walking trails, this is a great place to visit for those who are mobility-impaired. ◾ The entirety of Chesapeake Farms is protected in perpetuity through a conservation easement donated by the DuPont Company. ◾ The nearby St. Paul’s Church is an Episcopal church serving a parish that was founded in 1692 and was one of the first parishes established in what became the United States. The church building dates back to 1713 and is the oldest continuously used Episcopal church building in Maryland; it is on the National Register of Historic Places. The graveyard holds the grave of the actress Talullah Bankhead, who died in 1968; her sister lived nearby. ◾ The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Kent County Bird Club, which offers field trips and meeting programs that are open to the public, free of charge.
From the Western Shore of Maryland: Go east over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge using US Route 50/US Route 301. Near Queenstown, US Route 50 and US Route 301 will split; bear left here to follow US 301 north. In 5.3 miles after the split, take the exit from Route 301 to go north on MD Route 213. Route 213 will bring you into Chestertown in about 18 miles. After crossing the bridge over the Chester River, turn left to go southwest on MD Route 289/Cross Street. In just 700 feet (two blocks), turn right onto High Street. In 1 mile, you will come to a traffic circle at the intersection of High Street, MD Route 291, and MD Route 20. Bear right around the traffic circle and take the second exit to proceed west on MD Route 20. In 8.1 miles, turn left to go east on Ricauds Branch Road. The entrance to the Chesapeake Farms office area and the beginning of the auto tour route will be on your right in 0.6 miles, at 7319 Remington Drive. Pick up a printed auto tour brochure at the office or follow the tour using directions online.
From points south on the Eastern Shore: Use US Route 50 to reach the Wye Mills area. Near Wye Mills, turn right to go north on MD Route 213/Centreville Road. Route 213 will bring you into Chestertown in about 18 miles. After crossing the bridge over the Chester River, turn left to go southwest on MD Route 289/Cross Street. In just 700 feet (two blocks), turn right onto High Street. In 1 mile, you will come to a traffic circle at the intersection of High Street, MD Route 291, and MD Route 20. Bear right around the traffic circle and take the second exit to proceed west on MD Route 20. In 8.1 miles, turn left to go east on Ricauds Branch Road. The entrance to the Chesapeake Farms office area and the beginning of the auto tour route will be on your right in 0.6 miles, at 7319 Remington Drive. Pick up a printed auto tour brochure at the office or follow the tour using directions online.
From points north on the Eastern Shore: Use MD Route 213 southbound to reach Chestertown. Approaching Chestertown, turn right to go southwest on MD Route 291/Morgnec Road. In 0.6 miles, at the traffic circle, take the first exit to go west on MD Route 20. In 8.1 miles, turn left to go east on Ricauds Branch Road. The entrance to the Chesapeake Farms office area and the beginning of the auto tour route will be on your right in 0.6 miles, at 7319 Remington Drive. Pick up a printed auto tour brochure at the office or follow the tour using directions online.
Kent County: Buckingham Public Landing & Morgnec Road Public Landing ◾ Chestertown: Wilmer Park, Wayne Gilchrest Trail, & Chestertown WWTP ◾ Cypress Branch State Park◾ Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge ◾ Millington Wildlife Management Area ◾ Sassafras Natural Resources Management Area & Turner’s Creek Park
Cecil County: Bethel Managed Hunting Area ◾ Bohemia River State Park ◾ Courthouse Point Managed Hunting Area ◾ Elk River Park & Elkton Marsh ◾ Elkton – Meadow Park, Eder Park, Hatchery Park, & Howard’s Pond
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
Bottomland DeciduousConifersHedgerows Agricultural Crop Fields or Fallow FieldsHay Meadows, Pasture, Grass FieldOld Fields, Shrubby Meadows Forested SwampFreshwater Marsh or FloodplainFreshwater Pond, Lake, or ReservoirMud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal)Rivers & Streams
Features:BeginnersBirding By CarFree - No Entry Fee at Any TimeHabitat Restoration ProjectHuntingWater View
Type:Driving Tour (Roadside Birding)Hunting AreasPonds, Lakes, and ReservoirsPrivate Sanctuaries and Preserves