At a Glance

Hours: Open daily from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.

Cost: Free.

Tips: Bring a scope for waterfowl, shorebirds, and gulls. ◾ During spring and summer migration, scan the exposed mudflats from the west end of the Marina parking lot, looking for shorebirds. ◾ Restrooms and a seasonal food concession are located in the parking lot area.

Best Seasons: Year-round – late fall through winter for waterfowl; spring and summer for shorebirds, terns, and swallows; year-round for gulls (species vary seasonally).

Local MOS Chapter: Harford Bird Club

Tydings Memorial Park | Havre De Grace Marina

306 Commerce Street, Havre de Grace, MD 21078
(410) 939-1800

The picturesque and historic town of Havre de Grace (pronounced locally as “have-er-duh-grace,” with a long “a” in grace, just like the girl’s name) is located in eastern Harford County at the junction of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay. It’s all about the water: the town’s Millard Tydings Memorial Park and the City Marina are strategically located at the mouth of the Susquehanna, and provide birders with access to the waterfront. The 22-acre park complex includes the marina, a playground area, and a ¾-mile wooden promenade (most people would call it a boardwalk) that encircles the point of land between the river and the Bay. In addition to views of the open Bay waters, there are also tree lined walks, bayside grassy areas, and exposed mudflats at low tide. The brick and wooden promenade provides an outstanding overlook to the open waters of the river and bay, while the mudflats are best viewed from the west end of the Marina. The largest area of mudflats lies to the west of Tydings Island (called Park Island on some maps), which is located directly offshore south of the marina. The marina area is wheelchair accessible.

The promenade provides access to additional attractions such as the historic Concord Point Lighthouse, the lighthouse keeper’s house, the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum, and the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum, which has extensive displays of traditional waterfowl decoys uses on the Bay, along with exhibits that document duck-hunting tradition on the Chesapeake. The small park area includes picnic tables and grills, a playground and tennis courts, and a gazebo. The park hosts numerous special events throughout the year; check the schedule at http://www.explorehavredegrace.com/events/.

Birdlife:

About 200 species of birds have been reported from Tydings Memorial Park and the Havre de Grace Marina. The site is famous for waterfowl in winter and shorebirds in migration. There is also outstanding opportunity for an assortment of terns (spring through late summer) and gulls (mostly in winter and during migration).

Just about every swan, goose, and duck that occurs in Maryland, with the exception of some of the true sea-going specialties, has shown up at Havre de Grace – some 29 species of waterfowl. Other waterbirds reported include loons, grebes, cormorants, and coots. A variety of herons and egrets occur in the warm months. Ospreys are numerous in the spring and summer, and Bald Eagles are present year-round. The park and marina offer good viewing for hawks in migration – raptors tend to hesitate to cross the open waters of the Chesapeake Bay, and so afford good looks as they linger.

The shorebird variety is outstanding, with 25 species reported, including harder-to-find species such as phalaropes, Buff-breasted, and White-rumped Sandpipers. Winter gulls regularly include Bonaparte’s, with an occasional Little Gull or Black-headed Gull. Laughing Gulls are present in summer, and Franklin’s sometimes occurs during fall migration. Terns normally seen in the summer include Least Caspian, Royal, Common, and Forster’s, and migrating Black Terns may come through in late summer.  Swallows are also prevalent in the warm months, and Cliff, Barn, Bank, Tree, Northern Rough-winged and Purple Martin are all easily seen.

Despite the small size of the land area in the park, a surprisingly long list of landbirds has been seen. Chimney Swifts are common in spring and summer. Red-breasted Nuthatch can often be found during the winter. Regular summer flycatchers include Great Crested Flycatcher and Eastern Kingbird. Cedar Waxwings are common, almost year-round, supported by the abundance of shrubs with berries in the park and adjoining residential areas. Both orioles are typically present in the summer.

Common Yellowthroat and Yellow Warbler are present throughout the summer, while overwintering Yellow-rumped Warblers can be found some years. The park is famous for having hosted a Black-throated Gray Warbler, a western species, during the winter of 2016-17.

Parking:

Ample free parking at the marina. Also on the street, near the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum and the Maritime Museum.

Special Features:

The marina parking lot and the promenade over outstanding wheelchair accessible birding. ◾ The Promenade Grill (open spring to fall with varying hours) and restrooms are located in the marina parking lot. A playground and picnic tables are also available in the park.◾ Located within walking distance are the Concord Point Lighthouse, the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum and the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum. The Decoy Museum especially is worth a visit. ◾ Several sites near Tydings Park are part of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network of the National Park Service ◾ The shopping area of the town, along St. John Street and vicinity, holds a large number of restaurants, with seafood a specialty at most. ◾ Check out the City of Havre de Grace’s interactive map of its town parks; most of the parks are waterfront and provide good viewing opportunities for birders. ◾ The local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society is the Harford Bird Club, which offers field trips and meetings with informative programs, all free and open to the public.

Directions:

From I-95, take exit 89 onto southbound MD Route 155 (Level Rd) toward US Route 40 and Havre de Grace. Stay on Route 155 South for 2 miles. Immediately after a stone railroad underpass, continue straight at the fork onto Superior Street, passing under the US Route 40 bridge. Immediately after the underpass, bear right (southbound) onto North Juniata Street. Then turn left (east) onto MD Route 7/Otsego Street. Otsego Street ends near the waterfront; turn right (south) onto North Union Avenue (also known as MD Route 7 and MD Route 490) and continue (North Union becomes South Union) to the T intersection at Commerce Street. Turn left on to Commerce Street and the marina parking will be ahead on the right, down a slight slope. OR, from Route 40 east, bear right onto MD Route 7/Revolution Street. Continue 1.5 miles and turn right at South Union Avenue. Continue south to the T intersection at Commerce Street. Turn left on to Commerce Street and the marina parking will be ahead on the right, down a slight slope.

Nearby Sites:

Harford Glen Environmental Education Center; Anita C. Leight Estuary Center; Perryman Park & Forest Greens Park (Perryman Peninsula); Swan Harbor Farm; Susquehanna State Park; Conowingo Dam/Fisherman’s Park (Harford County Side); Perryville Community Park.

Habitats:

Garden or ArboretumUrban or Small Town Landscape Jetties & SeawallsMud Flats (Tidal or Non-Tidal)Open Ocean, Bay, or EstuaryRivers & Streams

Features:

BeginnersBoardwalkBoat or Canoe/Kayak LaunchFishingFree - No Entry FeeHiking/Walking TrailsHistorical FeaturesParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaPlaygroundRestroomsSnack Bar, Camp Store, Food ConcessionsWater ViewWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families

Type:

Chesapeake Bay Gateways NetworkChesapeake Bay Western ShoreCommunity and Urban ParksDriving Tours (Birding By Car)The Rivers of the Western Shore