At a Glance
Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Tips: Bring a scope. ◾ You will be passing through Fairmount WMA en route to Rumbley and most birders stop at Fairmount WMA on the way to or from Rumbley. Fairmount WMA is an active hunting area. Be aware of hunting seasons and plan your visit accordingly. ◾ There may be portable restrooms by the boat ramp (seasonal).
Best Seasons: Year-round, but be prepared for biting insects in the warm months.
Breeding Bird Atlas Block: Marion NW
Rumbley Boat Ramp
25700 Rumbley Road, Westover, MD 21871
The town of Rumbley is literally at the end of the road – specifically, at the far end of MD Route 361/Rumbley Road in Somerset County. This small village is on Drum Point, at the western edge of the Fairmount Wildlife Management Area in Somerset County, southwest of Salisbury and Princess Anne. The county-owned boat ramp offers excellent views of the open waters where Goose Creek joins the wide estuary of the Manokin River and Tangier Sound. Although located in a residential area, the boat ramp will give you a taste of the wildness of the marshes, and you’ll feel the tang of saltwater on the winds.
[Do not confuse the town of Rumbley and Rumbley Road (MD Route 361), described here, with Rumbly Point Road and the Rumbly Point marsh, which are farther south in Somerset County, at the Irish Grove MOS Sanctuary.]
Getting to Rumbley is half the fun. The town is reached by driving west on MD Route 361 past the Fairmount WMA, and birders usually visit Rumbley in conjunction with a visit to Fairmount WMA. Continuing past the West Impoundment at Fairmount, Route 361 will bring you directly into the town of Rumbley and to the boat ramp. Along the way, the road passes through prime saltmarsh, and there is good birding from the car on this little-traveled road. Note that the road may be flooded and impassable at high tide or during windy or stormy weather. In particular, winds from the west and southwest tend to blow water out of the Chesapeake Bay into the marshes, where it will cover the road, even when it’s not raining.
On entering Rumbley, note that Route 361 runs parallel to a creek on the left; be sure to go slow and take time to scan the water and surrounding area for birds. After stopping at the public boat ramp, you may want to explore the few other roads in the town, especially Riverview Road, which arcs northward, with houses on one side and the open marshes of the Teague River on the other side. Bird only from the public road as the land is all privately owned. Riverview Road ends at private property, so turn around and return to Route 361.
Another road worth exploring is Frenchtown Road, which makes a wide arc through the marshes to reach the watermen’s village of Frenchtown. Frenchtown is a left turn as you head west on Route 361 toward Rumbley; the intersection with Frenchtown Road is just west of a bridge over Teague Creek. The marshes along the road are usually full of birds.
At all times, be sure to stay on the public roadway and obey private property signs, being respectful of the privacy of local residents.
More than 105 species have been reported on eBird from the Rumbley Boat Ramp. A subset of 40 to 45 species has been reported from a nearby hotspot located along Rumbley Road, in the marshes east of town.
Waterfowl are the main attraction, with 18 species reported. Pied-billed (primarily spring), Horned (winter through spring), and Eared Grebes (rare in winter) are found in appropriate seasons. Both Red-throated and Common Loons are present in winter, but Common are more likely.
Rumbley is a good spot to check for American Oystercatcher from late February through early May. Semipalmated Plovers may show up in August. There may be a smattering of other shorebirds, mostly during the warmer months, including Killdeer; Sanderling; Dunlin; dowitchers; Wilson’s Snipe; Spotted Sandpiper; Willet; and both yellowlegs,.
The gull selection includes a few Bonaparte’s in late fall; Laughing from March through November; Ring-billed, Herring, and Great Black-backed from fall through spring. The three expected terns are Caspian (September), Forster’s (March through November), and Royal (April through October).
Northern Gannets can be seen as fly-bys in winter and spring. Double-crested Cormorants are present almost year-round, and Great Cormorant is possible but rare. Brown Pelicans are occasional from spring through summer.
The marshes around the town hold wading birds, including American Bittern; Great Blue Heron (year-round); Great Egret; Snowy Egret; Little Blue Heron; Tricolored Heron; Green Heron; and Glossy Ibis.
Osprey, Bald Eagle, and Red-tailed Hawk breed in the vicinity. Northern Harriers are easy to see from fall through spring.
Sparrows found in and around the town include Chipping, Field, Dark-eyed Junco, White-throated, Seaside, Savannah, Song, and Swamp. Eastern Meadowlarks, Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, and Boat-tailed Grackles are abundant.
Given the habitat, the only expected warblers are Common Yellowthroat, Pine Warbler, and over-wintering Yellow-rumped Warbler, which are usually plentiful.
There is good waterfront viewing at the boat ramp and good birding from the car along Rumbley Road and Riverview Road.
Pets on leash are permitted at the boat ramp. Take care that your dog doesn’t bark and disturb the nearby residents.
Rumbley is contained within the Somerset-Wicomico Marshes Important Bird Area, as designated by the National Audubon Society.
The privately owned marina next to the public boat ramp has a restaurant, featuring local seafood and the official dessert of the State of Maryland, Smith Island Cake. ◾ 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 brief YouTube video posted by a private citizen features aerial footage of the Rumbley Boat Ramp, the adjacent marina, and the surrounding marshlands and open waters. The video will give you a good feel for the environs.
At the large gravel lot at the Rumbley Boat Ramp. Do not park in spaces at the private marina next door unless you are visiting the restaurant.
The town of Rumbley is located southwest of Salisbury and Princess Anne, on the Tangier Sound.
From Salisbury: Take US Route 13 south from Salisbury. Watch for the junction with MD Route 413, about 4.7 miles south of Princess Anne; bear slightly right to take MD Route 413 south towards Crisfield. In 1.2 miles, turn right to go west on MD Route 361/Fairmount Road. Continue west on Route 361 for approximately 9.5 miles to the Rumbley Boat Ramp; note that the name of the road changes from Fairmount Road to Rumbley Road at the intersection with Ford Wharf Road near the West Impoundment of Fairmount WMA, and you must turn right here to stay on Route 361. Most birders stop to bird at Fairmount WMA on the way to or from Rumbley.
Somerset County: Deal Island Wildlife Management Area ◾ Fairmount Wildlife Management Area ◾ Irish Grove MOS Sanctuary ◾ Janes Island State Park ◾ Smith Island
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
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
Worcester County: Assateague Island National Seashore & Assateague Island State Park ◾ Castaways RV Resort & Campgrounds ◾ E.A. Vaughn Wildlife Management Area ◾ Ocean City Inlet ◾ Pocomoke State Forest – Hickory Point Cypress Swamp Natural Area ◾ Truitts Landing & Other Bayside Landings ◾ West Ocean City Pond
Urban or Small Town Landscape Jetties & SeawallsMud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal)Open Ocean, Bay, or EstuaryRivers & StreamsSalt or Brackish Marsh
Features:Birding By CarBoat or Canoe/Kayak LaunchFree - No Entry Fee at Any TimeParkingPets AllowedSnack Bar, Camp Store, Food ConcessionsWater ViewWheelchair Accessible Features
Type:Audubon Important Bird AreasChesapeake Bay Eastern ShoreThe Rivers of the Eastern Shore