West Ocean City Pond
10121 Golf Course Road, Ocean City, MD 21842
West Ocean City Pond (aka Golf Course Road Pond, aka Elliott’s Pond) is located in a quiet residential neighborhood in West Ocean City in Worcester County. This privately-owned pond is a premier location for close views of a large variety of waterfowl and marsh birds. The pond is fringed by a thick stand of trees and shrubs that attract passerines, and there are some marshy fringes that attract other wetland birds. There is a grassy spot for a couple of cars to park on the roadside adjacent to the pond.
The entire pond and its surrounding belt of trees are in private ownership, and the owner, who lives in an adjacent house, has been remarkably tolerant of birders stopping to look at birds. Please be on your best behavior so that we do not lose access to this prime spot. Also be respectful of the privacy of all the nearby residents. In particular, please keep your voice low and do not make undue noise or commotion, especially when birding with a group. Do not block the public roadway or driveways and do not speed on the small streets. Do not attempt a U-turn on Golf Course Road in order to park on the west side where the pond is located. Instead, use the side streets off Golf Course Road to go around the block and come back onto Golf Course Road heading south (see directions below).
Over 215 species have been reported on eBird from this small pond. Since it is a freshwater pond, it regularly holds a different set of waterfowl than the nearby Ocean City Inlet or 4th Street Mudflats. The waterfowl variety is extraordinary, with 32 species reported. The winter assortment typically includes American Black Duck; Gadwall; American Wigeon; Blue- and Green-winged Teal; Lesser and Greater Scaup; Northern Shoveler; Canvasback; Redhead; Northern Pintail; Bufflehead; and Ruddy Duck. There may be a few American Coots and Pied-billed Grebes. Brown-headed and Red-breasted Nuthatch can be found in the pines along Golf Course Road.
Fall shorebird migration regularly includes Semipalmated Plover; Stilt, Least, White-rumped, Pectoral, and Semipalmated Sandpipers; Short-billed Dowitcher; and Lesser Yellowlegs. A good assortment of gulls, terns and herons are present at various times of year. Rarities have included Ross’s Goose, Cackling Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose, and Eurasian Wigeon. Common Gallinules may turn up in spring and, more likely, in fall.
Spring and summer bring vireos, flycatchers, and warblers to the surroundings trees and shrubs; herons, egrets and other waders to the water; and flyover terns and swallows.
Pets are acceptable on leash, but be mindful that this is a residential area with its own dogs and cats. Take care to prevent your dog from barking and be prepared to pick up after your pet.
The roadside shoulder is natural surface and is uneven and has many tree roots and other small obstacles. It is necessary to maneuver, often over uneven ground, for a viewing spot between the trees, and it is not possible to get much of a view from the car. Hence this spot is not recommended for those in wheelchairs.
West Ocean City Pond 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. ◾ 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.
Worcester County Tourism has posted a brief YouTube video showing the winter birding possibilities at West Ocean City Pond, hosted by Jim Rapp of Conservation Community Consulting.
Park only along the west side of Golf Course Road at the grassy area next to the pond; be sure to park with all wheels off the road. Do not block private drives or park on private property.
From US Route 50 west of Ocean City: Turn north from Route 50 onto Golf Course Road.
- If travelling west on US Route 50 from Ocean City, Golf Course Road is at the second traffic light after the Route 50 bridge over Sinepuxent Bay.
- If travelling east on US Route 50 toward Ocean City, Golf Course Road is the next intersection past the junction with MD Route 611, and past the White Marlin Mall and Ocean City Outlet Mall on the north side of the highway.
Go north on Golf Course Road for 0.4 miles and you will see the pond on the left. Do not attempt to make a U-turn on Golf Course Road. Instead, turn right onto Pine Street, then left onto North Avenue and left again onto Horn Island Drive. Turn left to go south onto Golf Course Road and find a parking spot along the grassy roadside by the pond. It cannot be emphasized enough to be on your best behavior and keep the noise level down to avoid disturbing the neighbors.