|Cecil Birding Hotspots
Elk Neck State
Park and Turkey
Park is located on the the Elk Neck peninsula, bounded
on the east by the Elk River and on the west by the Northeast River;
rivers empty into Chesapeake Bay at Turkey Point in the south part of
Park. The Park features rolling hills covered with deciduous forests as
well as grassy meadows. The main part of the Park includes
a day use area on the North East River side, a camping area on the Elk
River side, and a boat launch ramp at Rogue's Harbor on the Elk
There are walking trails at all of these areas, with good upland
A conference center is also available to organized groups by advance
Turkey Point section of the Park is at the
extreme south end of
Elk Neck, with magnificent clifftop views out over the water,
from the lighthouse area at the tip of the Point. There are a
of small cattail marshes on the eastern side of the Point.
Neck State Park and Turkey Point offer good
birding throughout the
year. The fall migration can be especially exciting, as the
shape of the peninsula concentrates south-bound birds that are
to head out over the water. Turkey Point has been the site of a fall
hawk watch since 1994, with volunteer staffing by many
members and others. Seventeen diurnal species of raptors have
seen during the hawk watch seasons (September 1 to Thanksgiving).
addition, migrating owls may be found at Turkey Point: a
project in fall of 1996 captured more than 300 Northern Saw-whet
Barred Owl, Eastern Screech-Owls, and Great Horned Owls are resident
The Cecil Bird Club traditionally sponsors an evening
owl walk near Halloween. Individuals who wish to look for
need to get special permission, since the park is closed dusk to
|How to get there
||From the town of North East, take
Rt. 272 south. After about
10 miles, watch for signs indicating the Park's North East River Day
Area (right turn), the camping area (left turn), and the Rogue's Harbor
Boat Launch Ramp (left turn). Continue south on Rt. 272 and through the
community of Chesapeake Isle to reach the Turkey Point section of the
Rt. 272 ends at the gravel parking lot for Turkey Point.
Lorme MD State
Atlas Book: map page 77; grid D5
ADC Cecil County Map Book: map page 19; grid F9
(Turkey Point parking area)
Google map - click here
|What to do
||The North East River Day Use
Area parking lot offers a good
place to scan for gulls, terns, ducks, grebes, loons, and migrating
To the north of the parking lot is a small marsh that can be
A walking trail leads southeast from the picnic pavilion area to a
camping area on the Elk River side provides access to a marked
nature trail leading through a fresh water marsh and some of the loop
allow views of the Elk River. Stop at the fee booth for the
area to ask permission to bird, and for a campground map, and then
The camping area is usually good in spring for warblers, vireos,
and so on.
Rogue's Harbor Boat Launch area is another good spot to scan
the water, and provides access to a loop trail that circles yet
another marsh. To reach this trail, park in the first large lot
head all the way to the left (north). The marsh can be good for
rails, and herons.
the Turkey Point car park, it is a 1.0 mile walk to the
lighthouse at the Point. Follow the gravel road visible beyond
gate, birding on the way. Especially check out the trees on
to the west; many of the treetops will be at eye level, offering an
view of songbirds. In the meadows on the way to the Point, look
birds along the edge of the woods.
at the lighthouse, bear west (to the right when facing the water)
toward the edge of the cliffs and pick up the trail along the cliff
at the junction of the woods and field. This trail will loop back
to the main lighthouse trail, and along the way passes through woods
are good for songbirds.
from the Turkey Point parking lot there is a trail
leading east into the woods (head directly away from the North East
This trail leads to a small marsh separating state land from the
community at Chesapeake Isles. The marsh is good in winter for
and in fall and spring there may be migrating landbirds around the
Rails can also be found in the marsh, some year-round.
raptors may be observed from the second meadow on the way
to the lighthouse, or at the lighthouse itself. In winter, scan
visible water for ducks, loons, and grebes; in summer scan over the
|Birds to look
Migrating hawks and other raptors and migrating songbirds, including
warblers, flycatchers, vireos, tanagers, thrushes, orioles, cuckoos,
swallows, and grosbeaks. Terns pass through. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers,
sparrows, kinglets, geese, ducks, loons, and grebes start to arrive and
many will remain until spring.
Sapsuckers, sparrows, kinglets, geese, ducks, loons, and grebes.
Migration northward brings another wave of songbirds, essentially
the same as fall. Many will stay to breed through the summer.
Notable breeding birds include Red-Headed and Pileated Woodpeckers;
Cerulean, Black-and-white, Prairie, and Worm-eating Warblers; Wood
Red-eyed, White-eyed, Yellow-throated and Warbling Vireos;
Cuckoos; Terns; Ospreys; Bald Eagles.
residents: Bald Eagles, woodpeckers (including Red-headed and
Pileated), goldfinches, cardinals, bluebirds, meadowlarks.
||Park open to foot access daily
during daylight hours every day of the
year, except when deer hunting is in progress. North East River
Use Area and Rogue's Harbor Boat Launch closed to vehicles during
Fee for camping and for North East River Day Uee Area and for Rogue's
Boat Launch. No fee for Turkey Point use. There are
at Rogue’s Harbor and North East River Day Use area, in the main part
the Park, but these are only open in summer. The North East River
Use area has picnic tables and pavilions. Picnic tables are
also available at the outdoor chapel area, reached by taking the
to the North East River Day Use area and bearing left at the fork by
fee booth (no fee for chapel area; no restrooms there). Camping
available on the Elk River side, with both tent sites and trailer
Pets are allowed at some sites. Boat rentals are available in
|What to bring
spotting scope can help in
scanning the water, but binoculars are
sufficient for most birding. Trails are usually in good
even after rain. Waterproof shoes may be needed to walk through
grass in early morning or evening.
||Easy to moderate. Most
trails are somewhat hilly but not steep.
The first part of the main trail from the Turkey Point parking lot goes
uphill, but after that, it is mostly level walking to the lighthouse on
a wide gravel road. Limited birding and a view of the water is possible
from the car at theTurkey Point parking lot.
Point is open for deer
hunting in some years, generally starting
at Thanksgiving. Call the Park office for dates. Heavy
use during spring through fall keeps the area relatively safe,
Stone Wharf; Elk Neck State Forest;
North East Town Park
||Turkey Point Hawk Watch
website, MD Division of
Natural Resources website; Elk
Neck State Park official website
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.