At a Glance
Hours: Grounds open dawn to dusk, daily. Office hours: Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm; closed on holidays and weekends.
Tips: Hike only on marked trails. ◾ Speed limit on gravel roads is 15 mph. ◾ Carry-In/Carry-Out policy: bring your own trash bag and take it with you when you leave. ◾ Restrooms are at the Visitor Center.
Prohibited: No dogs. ◾ No bicycles on trails. ◾ No alcohol, firearms, weapons, or fires.
Best Seasons: Year round.
Breeding Bird Atlas Blocks: Saint Michaels NE, Easton NW
Pickering Creek Audubon Center
11450 Audubon Lane, Easton, MD 21601
Pickering Creek Audubon Center in central Talbot County offers a diverse array of coastal plain habitats for birders to explore, making it the county’s #1 eBird hotspot in terms of the number of bird species reported. Pickering Creek is owned and operated by the Chesapeake Audubon Society. The 400-acre property features a variety of habitats, including pine and mature hardwood forests, brackish marshlands, restored freshwater wetlands, warm season grass meadows and buffers, successional scrub-shrub habitat, tidal and non-tidal wetlands, over a mile of shoreline on tidal Pickering Creek, and croplands. Pickering Creek hosts resident Delmarva Fox Squirrels, an endangered species.
Over 100 acres are devoted to low impact “best management practice” agriculture. The farmed acreage of Pickering Creek links it to the significant farming heritage of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The property also includes about 120 acres of restored non-tidal wetlands.
There are more than four miles of walking trails with viewing blinds and platforms, a bluebird trail, a children’s imagination garden, and an herb garden. Canoes are available for Pickering Supporters and Audubon members. The boat launch is also open to individual visitors with their own canoe or kayak.
Pickering Creek Audubon Center is the top eBird hotspot in Talbot County, with over 250 bird species reported on eBird to date. Pickering Creek provides a downloadable Bird Checklist with seasonal occurrence notations.
The varied habitats host a wide variety of waterfowl, wading birds, and songbirds, so it is the place to go no matter what you want to see.
Forest interior dwellers and woodpeckers are found in the wooded areas. Bald Eagles are frequently sighted over the property, and Osprey nest here and in the area. May and June provide excellent opportunities for viewing both Orchard and Baltimore Orioles, which nest here. Displaying American Woodcocks are common from late February through early April, and a wide variety of other shorebirds and waders can be found from April through November. A flock of 24 Glossy Ibis over-summered in 2015!
Grasslands and buffers provide a nice mix of grassland birds, including Grasshopper, White-crowned, Field, Savannah, and Lincoln’s Sparrows. Waterfowl numbers peak from mid-March through April, with 29 species reported. Wild Turkey are present year-round, and Northern Bobwhite can be heard from April through September. There is even an occasional sighting of Ring-necked Pheasant. Thirty-one species of warblers have been reported from Pickering Creek.
The foot-trails are not wheelchair-accessible; however, the grassed trails off of the main parking area may be accessible for some. Limited birding is possible from the main parking area and from the car along the single lane gravel driveway. There is some water view available from the dock parking lot and the backyard of the main house area at the waterfront. Access to the dock itself is difficult for the mobility-impaired. The outdoor portable restroom is not handicapped-accessible. However, an indoor handicapped accessible restroom is available during scheduled and staffed programs or staff-led birdwalks.
Dogs are not permitted, not even on leash.
Pickering Creek Audubon Center is a part of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network of the National Park Service.
Binoculars are available to borrow during office hours, Monday-Saturday 9 am -5 pm. Also available for loan: dip nets to explore the pond and field guides or kids books to read in the woods during your visit. ◾ Canoes are available to Audubon members from April-October. ◾ Visitors with their own canoe or kayak may use the launch. ◾ The grounds of Pickering Creek include the cabin of famed Eastern Shore author and poet Gilbert Byron; the house was moved here from its original location on Old House Cove in 1994 and now serves as a mini-museum, containing artifacts related to Byron and his lifestyle and also serving as a classroom for outdoor education, literature, and writing programs for the community. ◾ Pickering Creek Audubon Center provides a wide array of environmental and science education programs to students from eight Maryland counties and the District of Columbia, with over 16,000 school children visiting each year.
The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Talbot Bird Club, which offers field trips and meetings with informative presentations, all free and open to the public.
Gravel lot near the Welcome Center and gravel lot at the dock area; see trail map at link at left.
From Easton and points south and east: From northbound US Route 50 at the Easton Municipal Airport, turn left (west) onto Airport Road. Make an immediate right turn to go north on MD Route 662 /Longwoods Road and go 2.8 miles. Turn left (west) onto Sharp Road and go 1.5 miles. Turn right to stay on Sharp Road and go another 1.2 miles. Pickering Creek will be on your right. A parking area is 0.4 miles down the driveway.
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 and stay on Route 50, passing by MD Routes 213 and 404. At Mile Marker 58, turn right onto MD Route 662 (Route 662 crosses Route 50 several times, so make sure you turn at Mile Marker 58). Go 1.9 miles, following Route 662 through the town of Longwoods, passing a red school house and Rabbit Hill Road. Turn right onto Sharp Road and go 1.5 miles. Turn right to stay on Sharp Road and go another 1.2 miles. Pickering Creek will be on your right. A parking area is 0.4 miles down the driveway.
From the Chesapeake Bay Bridge: Take US Route 50 east and then south and stay on Route 50, passing by MD Routes 213 and 404. At Mile Marker 58 turn right onto MD Route 662 (Route 662 crosses Route 50 several times, so make sure you turn at Mile Marker 58). Go 1.9 miles, following Route 662 through the town of Longwoods, passing a red school house and Rabbit Hill Road. Turn right onto Sharp Road and go 1.5 miles. Turn right to stay on Sharp Road. and go another 1.2 miles. Pickering Creek will be on your right. A parking area is 0.4 miles down the driveway.
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)
Dorchester County: Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge ◾ Cambridge – Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park (Dorchester County Side) ◾ Cambridge – Great Marsh Park ◾ 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
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 Lawn, Ballfields, Golf Course 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 & StreamsSalt or Brackish Marsh
Features:BeginnersBird Feeding StationBoardwalkBoat or Canoe/Kayak LaunchFree - No Entry Fee at Any TimeHabitat Restoration ProjectHiking/Walking TrailsHistorical FeaturesNative Plant Garden or Meadow/Pollinator PlantsNature Education ProgramsObservation Platform or TowerParkingPicnic AreaRestroomsWater ViewYoung People / Families
Type:#1 Hotspot in County or CityChesapeake Bay Gateways NetworkNature CentersPrivate Sanctuaries and PreservesThe Rivers of the Eastern Shore