Truitts Landing and Other Bayside Landings
East End of Truitts Landing Road, Girdletree, MD 21829
Truitts Landing is located on Brockatonorton Bay on the western shore of the Chincoteague Bay in Worcester County. Despite the name “Landing,” there is no longer a boat launch located here; the road simply ends at a small sandy beach that provides an overlook of the water. Truitts Landing is one of a series of bayside sites that dot this portion of the Chincoteague Bay (read on for a list of other landings), but Truitts stands out among them because Truitts Landing Road passes through agricultural fields, woodlands, and marshes before arriving at the landing. Thus one can sample a variety of habitats in a leisurely drive to the landing itself. Pull-offs at some spots afford the chance for extended viewing. Early morning visits in winter are particularly rewarding, with views of large flocks of wintering ducks, Snow Geese, and Tundra Swans.
Note that the lands bordering Truitts Landing Road (and most of the other landings listed below) is all privately owned, so be sure to stay on the public roadway and do not trespass by entering fields, woods, or marshes. Also be respectful of privacy for the local residents, and avoid parking near their homes. A pleasant day can be spent in the area, going to various bayside sites to sample the unique habitats that each one offers. Here are five other “landings” in the area, from north to south:
◾ Public Landing, at the east end of Public Landing Road, accessed from US Route 113 outside Snow Hill.
◾ Figgs Landing. This one actually is NOT a public boat launch site; instead, Figgs Landing is a waterfront residential community where the road borders the Bay, offering the opportunity to look out over the water from the road. From US Route 113 near Snow Hill, take MD Route 12 south; then east on Ayres Lane Road; northeast on Paw Paw Creek Road; then east and north on Bayside Road; then east and south on Figgs Landing Road.
◾ Scotts Landing. Another site that does NOT have a public boat launch, but there is a private wharf here with a parking area that gives a good view of the water. Ask permission if anyone is working there. From US Route 113 near Snow Hill, take MD Route 12 south; then east on Ayres Lane Road; then straight ahead to go southeast onto Scotts Landing Road.
◾ Taylor Landing. From MD Route 12 at Girdletree, go east on Box Iron Road and then east on Taylor Landing Road. This one is adjacent to E.A. Vaughn WMA.
◾ George Island Landing. From MD Route 12 south of Girdletree, turn east on George Island Landing Road and drive to the end of the road. The north side of the road leading to this public boat launch site is part of the E.A. Vaughn WMA and can be birded on foot.
Paddlers can explore some of the marshlands on the bayside using the E.A. Vaughn Kayak and Canoe Trail, which was developed in 2005 through a partnership between Delmarva Low Impact Tourism Experiences (DLITE), Maryland DNR, The Coastal Bays Program, and Worcester County. Three paddling routes which range in length from 3 to 6 miles can be accessed from either Taylor’s Landing or George Island Landing. A primitive camping area is also available for overnight stays. For additional information, contact the MD DNR’s Wellington Wildlife Office at (410) 543-8223. Copies of the Kayak and Canoe Trail map can be obtained by calling 1-800-852-0335 or 410-213-2297. The trail route is also indicated on the interactive map of the Maryland Public Water Access Atlas.
Over 240 bird species have been reported on eBird for the bayside area. There are separate hotspots for
During winter, the wetlands host hundreds of ducks including Gadwall, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Bufflehead and Hooded and Red-breasted Merganser; Snow Geese and Tundra Swan can also be present in large numbers. Summer brings a wide variety of sandpipers, gulls, terns and coastal specialties such as Saltmarsh and Seaside Sparrow, Black Skimmer, Tricolor Heron, Glossy Ibis, and Short-billed Dowitcher. This is a reliable site for rails; King, Virginia and Clapper Rail are present and often heard. During spring and fall migration, the wooded road edges can host flocks of warblers and other passerines.
Roadside or small parking areas at the sites with public boat launches. Be aware of possible soft road shoulders and ditches. Avoid parking near private homes.
As most of the birding is done from the car or road, Truitts Landing and the other landings listed above can be great for those who are mobility-impaired. ◾ Truitt’s Landing is contained within the much larger Maryland Coastal Bays Important Bird Area, as designated by the National Audubon Society. The MD Coastal Bays IBA adjoins the Assateague Island Important Bird Area to the east. ◾ There are two nice tourist brochures describing birding and birds in Worcester County, downloadable at http://www.ocmuseum.org/printables/BirdsofWorcesterCounty.pdf and http://visitworcester.org/news/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/birding-in-worcester-county-md.pdf. ◾ The Tri-county Bird Club is the local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society, serving Wicomico, Worcester, and Somerset Counties; the club offers field trips to local birding areas and meetings with informative presentations, all free and open to the public.
From US Route 50 west of Ocean City: Go south on US Route 13 for 18.0 miles to the town of Snow Hill, taking the bypass around the east edge of town. Then turn left to take MD Route 12/Snow Hill Road south for 1.8 miles. Turn left to go east on Cherrix Rd for 1.3 miles, then turn right to go south and east on Truitts Landing Rd and follow it to the end in about 2.3 miles. Drive slowly, but be aware of traffic. Pull over when possible to look at fields and woods edges and marshes.
See above for directions to the other landings.
E.A. Vaughn WMA, Assateague Island National Seashore and Assateague State Park, Ocean City Inlet, Castaways RV Resort & Campgrounds, Pocomoke State Forest – Hickory Point Cypress Swamp Natural Area, West Ocean City Pond, Ellis Bay Wildlife Management Area, Nanticoke River Wildlife Management Area – Nutter’s Neck, Pemberton Historical Park
Bottomland DeciduousConifersHedgerows Agricultural Crop Fields or Fallow FieldsOld Fields, Shrubby Meadows Forested SwampFreshwater Marsh or FloodplainJetties & SeawallsMud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal)Open Ocean, Bay, or EstuarySalt or Brackish Marsh
Birding By CarBoat or Canoe/Kayak LaunchFishingFree - No Entry FeeHuntingLake, Pond, Bay, River, OceanParkingWheelchair Accessible Features
Audubon Important Bird AreasHunting AreasState ForestsState Natural Areas & WildlandsThe Rivers of the Eastern ShoreWater Trails