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  A Chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society


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Funk's Pond Recreation Area
Description Funk’s Pond Recreation Area is owned by PECO and is part of their facility at Conowingo Dam.  The area, located at the eastern end of Conowingo Dam, features a small freshwater pond nestled in hardwood forest.  Near the pond, excellent views of the reservoir above the dam may be obtained.
How to get there From Rising Sun, take Rt. 273 and then Rt. 1 west.  After passing through the intersection of Rt. 222, watch for a car dealership on the right.  The parking lot for  Funk’s Pond is immediately after the car dealership, on the right and within view of the dam.  If coming from Harford County, watch for the parking area on the left as you come up the hill from the dam.  The parking area is marked with a large sign.
Map reference De Lorme MD State Atlas Book:  map page 77; grid A3
ADC Cecil County Map Book:  map page 2; grid B10 (not shown on map, but adjacent to dam)
Google map - click here
What to do after arrival The easily-visible foot trail leads north from the parking lot to the pond, about one mile.  Just north of the parking lot, the trail goes down a hill and then through a brushy area with a stream.  This area is good for sparrows and other landbirds.   The trail continues up a hill and through the woods before terminating at the pond.  In winter, approach the pond slowly so that any resting waterfowl are not flushed.  A faint trail follows the pond’s edge.

At the south edge of the pond, you can cross a small ditch and climb up to the railway embankment to obtain a good view of the reservoir.  Scan the water just above the dam, seen by looking to the left, and both shorelines as well as the open water.  This is a good spot at both dawn and dusk, as waterfowl and gulls fly along the river on their way to or from their feeding spots.  Return to the parking lot along the same trail or by walking along the railroad tracks;  a gravel road leads up from the tracks to  Rt. 1.

Birds to look for
  • Winter:  loons, grebes , cormorants, ducks, gulls, kinglets,  Hermit Thrush.  Reliable for Red-breasted Nuthatch, Black-capped Chickadee, and Winter Wren. 
  • Spring through fall:  Osprey (nesting), herons, egrets, flycatchers, warblers, vireos, other landbirds.
  • Year-round: Bald Eagle, Belted Kingfisher, bluebird, bob-white, pheasant, wild turkey, finches, chickadees, woodpeckers, Brown Creepers, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Chickadee, titmice, goldfinch.
Hours/Fees/Amenities Open dusk to dawn every day of the year;  no fee. There is a picnic table at the pond.  Public restrooms are available during weekday business hours at the Conowingo Visitors’ Center just across the dam (first right turn), or during all daylight hours at the Conowingo Fishermen’s Park (first two left turns after crossing the dam).
What to bring A spotting scope is helpful for scanning the reservoir. Waterproof shoes or boots with good traction may be needed after rain/snow.
Difficulty of walking Moderate.  Some hilly sections and some walking on gravelly trailbeds.  The trail can be extremely muddy after a heavy winter rain or snowmelt.  Snow and ice remain on the ground for a long time here.  Footing is usually good in the summer.
Personal safety Hunting is not allowed at Funk’s Pond.  It is best to bird with a friend.  Lock your car and secure valuables out of sight.
Nearby sites Fisherman's Park at the base of  Conowingo Dam in Harford County is the traditional spot to watch for eagles, gulls, herons, and waterfowl.  The Wildflower Trail along the river offers good birding as well.  Cross the dam and make the first two left turns to reach Fisherman's Park.  See the Harford Bird Club's Conowingo Site Guide for more information.

Conowingo Creek Boat Launch Ramp offers additional views of the reservoir above the dam.  From Rt. 1, go north on Rt. 222 at the Landhope Farms.  Take the first left onto Mt. Zoar Rd.; follow Mt. Zoar Rd. until the reservoir comes into view at the base of a hill.  Enter the parking area directly ahead or, if the gate is closed, follow the road around a curve to the right for more parking along the road shoulder.

Even better views of the reservoir can be obtained from an overlook on Bell Manor Rd.  From the Conowingo Creek Boat Launch, exit the parking lot and turn left.  At the iron bridge over the creek, turn left and go across the bridge, following Bell Manor Rd. around the shoulder of a hill and then along the cliff above the reservoir (on your left).   Watch for a pullover on the reservoir side (room for two or three cars only).

The many pine trees at Pilot Serpentine Barrens, a Nature Conservancy property, and the adjoining Girl Scout camp offer good roadside birding for woodpeckers, thrushes, kinglets, and nuthatches.  From the overlook, continue north on Bell Manor Road and then turn right at the first intersection onto Pilot Town Rd.  As you go down a hill, the Nature Conservancy property will be on the left and the Girl Scout camp on the right. There is parking at the bottom of the hill, near the Conowingo Creek bridge.  Bird from the road only as the surrounding lands are private property, or contact the Nature Conservancy Maryland Chapter to ask permission to enter the Barrens.

For more information Conowingo Visitors Information Center, 4948 Conowingo Road, Darlington, MD 21034, (410) 457-5011

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 Contact Us last updated 10/15/07