At a Glance

Hours: Generally 7 am to dusk, or as posted; park may be open later when games are being played under lights (good time to check for nighthawks)

Cost: Free.

Tips:  Several restrooms are located in the park; see trail map at link below for locations. ◾ Smoking is not allowed in any Howard County park. ◾ Early morning visits are best. Try to avoid the park during athletic games when it is crowded and noisy.

Best Seasons: Year-round.

Breeding Bird Atlas Block: Woodbine CE

Local MOS Chapter: Howard County Bird Club

Western Regional Park

14800 Carrs Mill Road, Woodbine, MD 21723
(410) 313-4700

The 190-acre Western Regional Park, operated by Howard County, has multiple, highly diverse habitats: sediment ponds; mixed deciduous upland forest; brushy/weedy margins; a warm-season grass field; and short grass on soccer and baseball fields. If substantial rain coincides with shorebird migration, shorebirds such as yellowlegs may drop in to the park. The grassy areas surrounding the ponds, and the ponds themselves when dry, can hold sparrows, especially in fall. Although heavily used during league play, the extensive short-grass, unfenced soccer fields can be attractive to “grasspipers” such as American Golden-Plover and Buff-breasted Sandpiper. There are excellent views of the sky for raptor and nighthawk watching. Several small ponds with adjacent annual vegetation provide habitat for amphibians, dragonflies, and butterflies.

The park has an extensive network of paved and dirt trails that provide access to most areas of the park. Paved trails go around most of the playing fields, through the stand of trees located just to the west of the artificial turf playing fields, and along the tree edge of some of the mature forest in the northwest corner of the park. From the access road, a wide mowed path leads to the main entry point of the woods trail. The woods-interior trails form several loops of varying length. See the trail map at link at left.

Birdlife:

Over 195 species of birds have been reported on eBird from Western Regional Park. Shorebirds may be present from April to September, when the ponds have appropriate water levels. A wide diversity of sparrows can be found. In May, Grasshopper Sparrows often sing on the farm just across Carr’s Mill Road, and can also sometimes be found in the grassy areas around the pond. Howard County’s first Lark Sparrow was found here when the park was being first developed. Orange-crowned Warblers are sometimes found during fall migration in the far west brushy area, accessed from one of the westernmost parking lots (see trail map at link at left). Watch the skies for flyovers during fall and spring migration, especially raptors and Common Nighthawks (August). This is one of the most reliable places in the county to see Horned Larks throughout the year.

Parking:

Paved lots; see trail map at link at left.

Special Features:

Because much of Western Regional Park can be birded from paved roads and paths, this is a good spot for those who are mobility-impaired. ◾ A seasonal list of birds, butterflies, dragonflies, mammals, and herps at Western Regional Park is available at https://howardbirds.website/birding/birding-howard-county-md/site-guides/western-regional-park/western-regional-park-species-lists/, courtesy of the Howard County Bird Club. ◾ The Howard County Bird Club, a chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society, holds bird walks at Centennial Lake and Park; such walks are free and open to the public. See the Howard County Bird Club’s calendar for more information. ◾ The Howard County Bird Club has a detailed online guide, “Birding Howard County,” on their website at https://howardbirds.website/birding/birding-howard-county-md/site-guides/. Edited by Joanne Solem, the online guide replaces an older printed guide, now out-of-print. The website is up-to-date and extremely detailed. Check it out!

Directions:

From I-695/Baltimore Beltway: Take Exit 16 for I-70 westbound. In approximately 11 miles, take Exit 76 onto MD Route 97/Roxbury Mill Road south toward Olney. In 1.9 miles, turn right to go west onto Carrs Mill Road. Proceed 0.4 miles to the park entrance on the right (north) side of the road.

From points south: Take I-95 or I-295 north to MD Route 32 northbound toward Columbia. In approximately 21 miles, take the exit to go west on I-70 toward Frederick. n 3.6 miles, take Exit 76 onto MD Route 97/Roxbury Mill Road south toward Olney. In 1.9 miles, turn right to go west onto Carrs Mill Road. Proceed 0.4 miles to the park entrance on the right (north) side of the road.

From points west: Take I-70 eastbound to Exit 76 for MD Route 97/Roxbury Mill Road south toward Olney. In 1.9 miles, turn right to go west onto Carrs Mill Road. Proceed 0.4 miles to the park entrance on the right (north) side of the road.

Nearby Sites:

Middle Patuxent Environmental Area; Mount Pleasant Farm (Howard County Conservancy); Patapsco Valley SP – Daniels Area; Patapsco Valley SP – Henryton; Rockburn Branch Park; Schooley Mill Park; Wilde Lake.

Habitats:

HedgerowsUpland Deciduous Garden or ArboretumLawn, Ballfields, Golf CourseStormwater Retention PondSuburban Neighborhood Hay Meadows, Pasture, Grass FieldOld Fields, Shrubby Meadows

Features:

Ball Fields or Other SportsBeginnersBicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)Birding By CarFree - No Entry FeeHiking/Walking TrailsHorseback RidingParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaRestroomsWater ViewWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families

Type:

Community and Urban ParksDriving Tours (Birding By Car)