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)
Tips: Several full restrooms and portable restrooms are located in the park, near the athletic fields, the picnic pavilions, and the playground; 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
Western Regional Park
14800 Carrs Mill Road, Woodbine, MD 21723
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 the link at left.
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. 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.
Rarities: 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).
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.
Pets are allowed on leash; pick up after your pet.
- A set of seasonal lists 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.
- In addition to the usual sports fields and tennis courts, Western Regional Park has a playground, five picnic pavilions (available on a first-come, first-served basis – for more information click on the pavilion rental tab), the Gary J. Arthur Community Center at Glenwood, and the Glenwood Library.
Local MOS Chapter:
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!
Paved lots; see trail map at link at left.
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.
Howard County: Centennial Lake & Park ■ David Force Natural Resource Area ■ Howard County Conservancy – Mount Pleasant Farm ■ Lake Elkhorn ■ Middle Patuxent Environmental Area ■ Patapsco Valley State Park – Daniels Area ■ Patapsco Valley State Park – Henryton ■ Patuxent River State Park – Annapolis Rock Road Area ■ Patuxent River State Park – Hipsley Mill Road Area ■ Rockburn Branch Park ■ Schooley Mill Park ■ Triadelphia Reservoir (Brighton Dam) ■ Wilde Lake
Features:Ball Fields or Other SportsBeginnersBicycle Trails (Bikes may be prohibited on some trails)Birding By CarFree - No Entry Fee at Any TimeHiking/Walking TrailsHorseback RidingParkingPets AllowedPicnic AreaRestroomsWater ViewWheelchair Accessible FeaturesYoung People / Families