|Cecil Birding Hotspots
C&D Canal Levees
||The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal
provides a shipping channel between the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays,
and stretches from Delaware City at
east end to Welch Point on the Elk River at the west end. The
are the terraced banks of the canal, formed by piling up the dredge
during the initial digging and successive enlargements of the
Along much of the levees, roads at different levels of the terraces
public access, and some tracts are designated as national or state
areas. The dredge spoils are barren and gravelly, and support a
and grassland habitat, with conifers in some areas. Natural
pools form in some places.
|How to get there
||In the Cecil County portion of the
canal, there are three main access
points for vehicles:
North Chesapeake City, take Rt. 285 east into town. Bear right
onto Lock St. and follow the street downhill to the T-intersection at
canal. Turn left (east) onto a paved road at the edge of the
this connects to a system of roads that allows you to drive to St.
in Delaware. The paving ends when the road reaches the state line.
south Chesapeake City, take Rt. 286 east to Bethel
WMA at the intersection of Bethel Cemetary Rd. Turn left
onto Bethel Cemetary Rd. and continue straight ahead to the entrance to
the canal levees. A left (west) at the levees will take you to a
productive area on the back side of Bethel WMA and the Canal Museum; a
right turn (east) will take you to the Delaware line in just a couple
feet. On weekdays before 4 p.m., it is possible to enter the
Museum grounds from the levees and to exit through their gate onto Rt.
286 (gate locked at other times).
south Chesapeake City, use 3rd St. to reach the west side of
Go straight on 3rd and then right to the foot of Walnut, down a steep
to enter the levees. Make a left (west) at the levee road (the
to the right is blocked off). This entrance may close without
For foot access to hunting lands in the C&D Canal area, see the
areas listed below under "Nearby Sites."
Lorme MD State Atlas
Book: map page 78; grid C2.
Cecil County Map Book: map page 18; grids E10, J9,
and D10 (access points).
- Google map - click here
|What to do
||Drive the levee roads, stopping at
likely patches of trees, shrubs,
and grass to look for birds. Pull well off the road to allow other
vehicles to pass. Generally, the road at the lowest levee level (next
the canal) is always driveable for ordinary passenger vehicles, but the
dirt roads on upper levels of the levee may require a four-wheel-drive,
high clearance vehicle, especially after wet weather.
|Birds to look
raptors, gulls, finches, sparrows.
summer, and fall: shorebirds, waders, swallows, flycatchers,
||No fee; open to vehicles
during daylight hours every day of the
year. The closest public restroom is at the Canal Museum (Monday
- Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.; closed Sunday) or at the
in South Chesapeake City (limited hours). There is a picnic area
just outside the Canal Museum along Rt. 286.
|What to bring
||Most of the levee birding can be
done with binoculars. Waterproof
shoes/boots may be needed after wet weather, if you plan to walk
grass to try for sparrows.
||Varies. You can bird from the
car; if you choose to walk
or chase sparrows, some scrambling up and down gravelly hills may be in
||Take precautions and bird with a
friend. Leave any valuables
locked in your car and out of sight. Stay close to your car. The
levees are isolated and
attract some illegal activities. Some areas are open to hunting, so
Point WMA, Earleville WMA,
Elk Forest WMA,/Welch
C&D Canal and adjacent
lands are owned primarily by the
Army Corps of Engineers, which has an office in Chesapeake City
hunting areas are maintained by the MD Department of Natural Resources.
1999, 2007 Cecil Bird
Club; All rights reserved. May be printed for personal use
but may not be reproduced in any form for mass or commercial
without permission of the Executive
of the Cecil Bird Club.