At a Glance

Hours:

  • Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend: Monday-Friday: 9 am-6 pm, Saturday-Sunday: 9 am-8 pm.
  • After Labor Day until Memorial Day weekend: Friday & Monday: 9 am-4 pm, Saturday & Sunday: 9 am-5 pm, closed on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday • Also closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year Day.

Cost: Cash or check only; no credit cards.

  • Labor Day through Memorial Day, Friday or Monday: no entry fee.
  • January through March, weekends: $5/vehicle in-county resident or non-resident.
  • April & May, weekends: $5/vehicle for in-county residents, $8/vehicle for non-residents
  • Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, daily: $5/vehicle for in-county residents, $8/vehicle for non-residents
  • After Labor Day through October, weekends: $5/vehicle for in-county residents, $8/vehicle for non-residents
  • November through December, weekends: $5/vehicle in-county resident or non-resident.
  • Any Fee Day – Bike/Walk-in: $2 per person
  • Annual passes available.

Tips:  Bring a scope. ◾ The park doesn’t open until 9 am; bird the power line cut until then. ◾ Some of the trails may be wet and muddy; wear waterproof hiking boots. ◾ Public deer hunting is permitted during archery season. Be aware of hunting seasons and plan your visit accordingly. ◾ Restrooms are at the Visitor Center.

Best Seasons: Spring and fall migration; winter. Very busy with beachgoers in summer and the park will not allow further entries when it fills to capacity.

Breeding Bird Atlas Block: Cove Point CW

Flag Ponds Nature Park

1525 Flag Ponds Parkway, St Leonard’s, MD 20657
(410) 586-1477

Flag Ponds Nature Park is a county park of over 500 acres with frontage of nearly a mile on the Chesapeake Bay. Most of the terrain is low-lying. Most remarkable are two sizable ponds (Richardson’s Pond and Duncan’s Pond) fed by over-wash from the Bay, and several smaller ponds. A marsh, traversed in part by a boardwalk, lies along Richardson’s Pond. The South Ridge and North Ridge Trails go through terrain with a more upland character.

Be sure to visit the observation platform and the blind on Duncan’s Pond. Continuing on the Duncan’s Pond Trail leads to a boardwalk crossing the marsh – often underwater, so boots with good gripping soles are recommended. One can then return to the parking area via the North Ridge Trail. Passerine birding can be good on this trail, coming either from the Beach Path or from the end of parking lots 2 or 3 (see trail map at the link at left). Kentucky and Hooded Warblers can be found in this portion of the park, and migrants may be all along the trail. The North Loop and South Ridge Trails are less productive.

Depending on season, the public beach at the end of the Beach Path and the sand bar just off-shore may have gulls, terns, and shorebirds, including Sanderling. Since the beach is highly popular, arrive early in warm weather and preferably on a weekday.

There is limited wheelchair access: the Fisherman’s Trail, a loop to Todd’s Pond, is wheelchair-accessible.

Just outside the park boundaries, a power line cut makes a wide swath of brushy habitat that is roughly parallel to the Bay shore. When driving to the park, you will cross the power line cut shortly after turning from MD Route 2/4 onto Flag Ponds Parkway, and before entering the park grounds. It’s worth pulling over here to bird along the power line cut, particularly since the park itself does not open until 9 am. Birding at the power line cut is a good way to round out your day list with some birds that prefer scrub-shrub habitat, such as Yellow-breasted Chat, Prairie Warbler, and Blue Grosbeak.

Birdlife:

Over 235 species have been reported on eBird from Flag Ponds. There is a separate eBird hotspot for the Flag Ponds Parkway powerline cut, with over 115 species reported. 

Breeding species at the park include Green Heron; Yellow-throated, Hooded, Kentucky, and Worm-eating Warblers;  and all the local swallows. In winter, a good variety of dabbling ducks is sometimes found on the ponds, and diving ducks may be present in the offshore waters. There are also wintering kinglets and Winter Wrens. In spring, there may be other wetland species such as herons and Belted Kingfishers. Migrant passerinees include sparrows, thrushes, flycatchers and warblers.

Where the Flag Ponds Parkway passes under a power-line, Prairie Warblers, Yellow-breasted Chats, and Summer Tanagers may be heard by day; at night, there may be Great Horned Owls and very occasionally, migrant nightjars.

Parking:

Several designated lots – see trail map at link at left.

Special Features:

Fisherman’s Trail, which is a loop to Todd’s Pond, is wheelchair-accessible, and there are accessible restrooms. However, other trails are not wheelchair-accessible. ◾ Park activities include swimming (no lifeguards), fossil hunting, fishing (there is a pier) and visitor center with wildlife exhibits. Picnic tables and grills ◾ Flag Ponds Nature Park is a part of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network of the National Park Service. ◾ There is no chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society in Calvert County, but many birders participate in MOS through the Anne Arundel Bird Club or the Patuxent Bird Club; both of these MOS chapters offer field trips and meetings with informative programs, all free and open to the public. In addition, the Southern MD Audubon Society serves birders in Charles, Calvert, St. Mary’s, and Prince George’s Counties.

Directions:

From MD Route 2/4 south of Prince Frederick, turn east onto onto Flag Ponds Parkway and then immediately right at the T-intersection to stay on Flag Ponds Parkway (see Google map at left). Flag Ponds Parkway will bring you directly into the park. You may want to stop and bird at the obvious power line cut, particularly f arrivign before the park opens at 9 am.

Nearby Sites:

Calvert County: American Chestnut Land Trust – Parkers Creek Preserve, Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Sanctuary / Gatewood Preserve / Biscoe Gray Heritage Farm, Calvert Cliffs State Park, Chesapeake Beach, Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, Kings Landing Park & Huntingtown Natural Resources Management Area, North Beach, Solomons Island

Charles County: Indian Creek Natural Resources Management Area

Habitats:

Bottomland DeciduousConifersHedgerows Old Fields, Shrubby MeadowsSandy Beach or Dunes Forested SwampFreshwater Marsh or FloodplainFreshwater Pond, Lake, or ReservoirMud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal)Open Ocean, Bay, or EstuaryRivers & StreamsSalt or Brackish Marsh

Features:

BeginnersBoardwalkFishingHabitat Restoration ProjectHiking/Walking TrailsNative Plant Garden or Meadow/Pollinator PlantsNature Education ProgramsObservation Platform or TowerParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaRestroomsSwimmingVisitor Center, Interpretive Displays, ExhibitsWater ViewWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families

Type:

Chesapeake Bay Gateways NetworkChesapeake Bay Western ShoreNature Centers