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Free Birding Trips

October | November | DecemberDirections

These free, volunteer-led walks offer birders a chance to explore new areas with other birding enthusiasts. ANS also offers fee-based, instructional classes and field trips for beginning to mid-level birders.

Beginner bird walks
Saturdays, 8-9 a.m. at Woodend
Weekly March through June. No walks in July or August. Weekly schedule resumes in September through November, then monthly walks in December, January, and February. Meet at the Audubon Sanctuary Shop parking lot. Bring binoculars or use ours. Please register at https://ansevents.eventsmart.com.

2016/Early 2017 Christmas Bird Counts


Saturday, October 1
Swains Lock, C&O Canal, Montgomery County, MD
Half day. Late songbird migrants, resident songbirds, herons, raptors, and some waterbirds. Meet time/place: 7:30 am at Swains Lock on the C&O Canal. Make reservation (10-person limit) with leader Janet Dale, 240-426-0054 or jkdale1@earthlink.net.

Sunday, October 16
Meadowside Nature Center, Rockville
Half day. Late songbird migrants and resident songbirds in varied habitat. Meet time/place: 7:30 am at the Nature Center parking lot on Meadowside Lane, off Muncaster Mill Road. Make reservation (10-person limit) with leader Marc Liebermann at mdlieberm@gmail.com.

Wednesday, October 26
Woodbridge/Occoquan Bay NWR, VA
Half day. Songbirds, waterfowl, eagles, and other raptors. Meet time/place: 7:30 am inside the refuge at central parking lot. Make reservation (6-adult limit) with leader Jim Waggener, 703-567-3555.


Sunday, November 6
Eastern Neck NWR, Kent County, MD
Full day. Expect to finish around 2:30 pm. Good variety of waterfowl, some waterbirds, gulls, and terns as well as landbirds, hawks, and eagles in mixed farm, woodland, pond, and bay areas. Bring pack lunch and warm drinks. Meet time/place: 8:30 am at the Tundra Swan Boardwalk. Make reservation (15-person limit) with leader Paul DeAnna before 11/3 at ppdeanna47@gmail.com or 202-544-2680.

Saturday, November 12
Blue Mash Nature Trail, Montgomery County, MD
One-third day. Hawks, sparrows, finches, and other woodland birds. Meet time/place: 8 am at Zion Road parking lot. Waterproof footwear strongly recommended. Make reservation (10-person limit) with leaders Len Bisson and Lisa Norwalk at lhnorwalk@gmail.com.

Saturday, November 19
Mattawoman Wildlands, Marbury, Charles County, MD
Half day. Joint trip with SoMD Audubon. Large concentrations of waterfowl on the Mattawoman Creek, along with songbirds, woodpeckers (some red-headed), and raptors. Meet time/place: 7:45 am at Lackey High School parking lot, 3000 Chicamuxen Rd, Indian Head, MD 20640. Bring waterproof shoes or low boots, and dress for possible wind. Be prepared for one-mile walk to and from the head of the trail and then a half-milk walk on uneven forest trail. Make reservation (10-person limit) with leader Lynne Wheeler at comstockel@aol.com or 301-751-8097. Bob Lukinic will co-lead.

Wednesday, November 30
Woodbridge/Occoquan Bay NWR, VA
See October 26 listing for details. 


Sunday, December 11
Huntley Meadows, Fairfax County, VA
Half day. Wintering waterfowl and other winter residents, Bald Eagles a possibility. Meet time/place: 8 am at parking lot. Make reservation (12-person limit) with leader Stephen Jones at srjones1111@aol.com or 301-320-3518.

Wednesday December 21
Woodbridge/Occoquan Bay NWR, VA
See October 26 listing for details.



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Banshee Reeks, Loudoun County, VA areas

Take VA 15 south from Leesburg. Approx. 1/4 mi. so. of Leesburg bypass, turn left (east) onto County Road 621, Evergreen Mill Rd. and go about 5 mi. passing landfill en route. About 1 mi. past landfill, turn right (west) onto County Route 771, the Woods Rd. Continue about 1 mi. to Banshee Reeks on left between 2 white fences and at an obvious entrance sign.

Black Hill Regional Park, MD
From DC Beltway, go north on I-270 about 10 mi. to Father Hurley Blvd., MD-27. Go east on Rt. 27 for about 1 mi. to MD-355. Go north on MD-355 for about 2 mi. Go left on Old Baltimore Rd. and follow signs to Black Hill (about 2 mi.). Park in front of Visitor Center.

Blue Mash Nature Trail, which is on Zion Rd. in northern Montgomery County
From DC/Bethesda-Chevy Chase get on I-270 going north, Exit on I-370 East going towards Shady Grove Metro station, exit I-370 at second Shady Grove Rd. exit to go north on Shady Grove Rd. Go about six traffic lights along Shady Grove Rd. (passing Intercounty Connector construction) and turn right at light at Muncaster Mill Rd. (Route 115) Go short distance along Muncaster Mill Rd. and turn left at first traffic signal (at Liberty gas station) onto Muncaster Rd. (no route number).

Proceed north on Muncaster Rd. for several miles until it reaches T-junction at traffic light at Olney-Laytonsville Rd. (Route 108) Turn right onto Rte. 108 east and almost immediately turn left onto Brookeville Rd. Go less than a mile to 4-way stop sign at Zion Rd. Turn left onto Zion Rd. Parking lot for Blue Mash is on the left shortly after large electricity substation on the left, less than a mile along Zion Rd. Park in lot. Do not proceed on gravel road even if the gate is open.

Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship
Neersville Volunteer Fire Station is on Rte.-671, 5.5 mi. north of intersection of Rte. 671 and Rte-9, which is 2 miles west of Hillsboro in Loudoun Co., Va. The fire station is 2.5 mi. south of the intersection of Rte. 671 and US-340.

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
From Bay Bridge, take US-50 east, US-301 northeast, Md/Del-300 east, Del-42 east, Del-9 (in Leipsic) north, and east on Whitehall Neck Rd. at the brown refuge sign. Visitor Center is just inside the refuge entrance, approximately 105 miles from Woodend.

Cambridge and Blackwater NWR, MD
Bowie fringe parking lot: From DC Beltway, go east on US-50 for 6-7 mi.; at MD-197/Collington Rd./Bowie exit-take exit ramp, merging into Rt. 197 So.; go 1/4 mi. to light at Northview Dr.; go left into second entrance of parking lot (opposite small "parking" sign). Old Ferry Boat (antique shop): Continue on US-50 east to Choptank River on north edge of Cambridge.

Cape May, NJ
Ferry leaves from Cape Henlopen, (Lewes) Del, several times Fri. afternoon and evening for Cape May. Otherwise, driving route is north past Wilmington, Del., over Del. Memorial Br. and routing on US-40, US-55, and NJ-47.

C & O Canal, MD
From DC Beltway, take Md.-190 (River Rd.) west through the village of Potomac. There are many stops along the canal:
Pennyfield Rd
Violette's Lock
Seneca Lock
Hughes Hollow
Sycamore Landing
For Potomac Safeway, go west on River Rd. (MD-190) to traffic light in Potomac; Safeway is on left.

Dyke Marsh, VA
From Alexandria, take GW Parkway south; cross Little Hunting Creek; turn east toward river for Bellehaven Picnic Area. Bear left to south end of parking lot. From D.C. Beltway, go west on U.S.-50 for 1 mi. to Prosperity Ave.; go left (south) for 1 mi. to park entrance, left into picnic area

Eastern Neck NWR, MD
Directions to the Refuge from DC area: Take U.S. Rt. 50/301 East across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge ($6.00 toll eastbound). Continue on Rt. 301 North after 50 and 301 split. Exit Rt. 301 North onto Rt. 213 North towards Chestertown. Continue on Rt. 213 North into Chestertown. In Chestertown, turn from Rt. 213 onto Rt. 291 (also marked "to Rt. 20"). At the T-intersection, turn right onto Rt. 20 South towards Rock Hall. Follow Rt. 20 South for 12 miles to Rock Hall. At the blinking red light in Rock Hall, turn left onto Rt. 445. Follow Rt. 445 about 6 miles out of Rock Hall to the refuge entrance bridge. If you are coming from another direction see the Eastern Neck NWR site:  http://www.fws.gov/northeast/easternneck/visit.html

Great Falls Park, VA
From DC Beltway, go west on Georgetown Pike (VA-193), turn right at park sign, go about 1 mi. to park entrance, then straight ahead to main parking lot.

Hawk Mountain, PA
From Harrisburg, Pa. go north on I-83, merge into I-78/US-22, continue to PA-61 exit (Pottsville, Port Clinton) go north 4 1/2 mi. to PA-895, go east 2 1/2 mi. to Drehersville, follow signs for 2 miles to Sanctuary; allow 4 hours driving time; lookout is 3/4 hour uphill walk from entrance.

Hughes Hollow, MD
From traffic light in Potomac Village, go west on River Rd. (MD-190) 12.3 mi. Go left on Hughes Rd. to parking lot.

Huntley Meadows, VA
From DC Beltway, take US-1 south for about 3 mi. Go right at traffic light on Lockheed Blvd. for 1.5 mi; turn left into park.

Jeff Swinebroad Memorial Walk
From DC Beltway, go west on Md-190 through Potomac Village to T-intersection with Md-112; go left a mile or so through remnants of Seneca village to Riley's Lock Rd; go left on Riley's toward Potomac River and turn left into parking lot by Seneca Aqueduct/bridge.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, DC
From DC Beltway (east side) at exit 7, go west on US-50 about 7 miles to DC-295 (note sign for Kenilworth Avenue.); go south on DC-295 about a mile to exit for Eastern Ave.; slide off to right onto a service road; go to and through a stop light; continue 2 blocks to Douglas St.; go right on Douglas to Anacostia Ave. and go right; immediately on your left is the KAG parking lot, 4300 Anacostia Ave.; a Visitor Center and a restroom facility buildings border the parking lot.

Little Bennett Regional Park, MD
I-270 North to exit 18, Clarksburg, MD 121. Go east to second stoplight and make left on MD 355. Go north on 355 to next stoplight, turn right on MD 121. Go north 1.9 miles to Kingsley Schoolhouse Trail (just past the bridge over Little Bennett Creek).

Loudon County, VA areas
From DC Beltway, west on VA-7 for approx. 17 mi. to just east of Leesburg. North on US-15 bypass (toward Frederick Md.) for 2 mi. Merge into US-15 north. Drive approximately 6 mi. into Luckett, Va. At "Welcome to Luckett's" sign, turn right (east) on gravel road toward ballfield.

Mason Neck, VA
From Rt. 1 south, turn left on Gunston Rd., take right on High Point Rd.; parking lot on left.

Myrtle Grove, MD
Go east on DC Beltway from Alexandria, cross Wilson Bridge, continue past I-295 interchange, veer off at Indian Head Highway exit toward MD-210 south. Take next immediate two right turns after leaving Beltway, turn left into National Park Service parking lot.

National Arboretum
From D.C. Beltway, go west on Rt. 50. At Bladensburg Rd., turn left. Travel 3 blocks to R St., turn left. Entrance is on corner of 24th and R Streets.

Oxon Hill Children's Farm, MD
Go east on DC Beltway from Alexandria, cross Wilson Bridge, continuing beyond intersection with I-295 (exit 2); take exit 3A for MD-210 south; take immediate two right turns after leaving Beltway, cross over Beltway, turn left into National Park Service parking lot.

Patuxent River Naval Air Station, MD
From DC Beltway, take MD-5 (Branch Ave. exit) south about 10 mi. to Waldorf, Md. In Waldorf, follow MD-5 through left-hand turn (US-301 goes straight). Continue on MD-5 south about 18 mi. to Mechanicsville. Continue straight on MD-235 (don't turn right on MD-5) and go about 18 mi. to Lexington Park. At very obvious Gate 1 on left (into Patuxent NAS) turn left for 25 yards, then right into small (20-space) parking lot at front of gate. Look for white minibus. "Old" Gate 2 now closed. Note: Waldorf can be bypassed using MD-205 between Mattawoman and Beantown.

Patuxent River Park, Jug Bay, MD
From DC Beltway, take MD-4 (Pennsylvania Ave.) south for about 7 miles. At US-301 go south for 3.4 mi. to MD-382 (Croom Rd.) Go left 2.7 miles to Croom Airport Rd. Go left 2.0 miles to park entrance on left. When directed by trip leader, go through entrance and past headquarters parking (1.3 mi.) to parking lot by marina.

Pennyfield-Violette's Lock, MD
From DC Beltway, west on River Rd. (MD-190) to Potomac Village. Safeway on left. Continue 5.1 miles to Pennyfield Lock Road. Take left 0.9 miles to parking lot.

Riverbend Park, VA
From DC Beltway, take exit 13, Georgetown Pike (VA-193) west for 5.5 mi., passing sign for Great Falls Park en route. Go right on Riverbend Rd. for 2.1 mi., bear right on Jeffrey Rd. and continue 1.1 mi. to Riverbend Park entrance on right. Enter park and continue to Visitor's Center parking areas by river. Meet at boat ramp.

Rock Creek Park, DC
From Conn. Ave/Military Rd. junction go east on Military to Park, then south about 1 mi. on Ridge, passing Rock Creek Nature Center, to picnic area #18.

Rust Sanctuary, Leesburg, VA
D.C. Beltway to Dulles Toll Rd. Exit and stay on toll rd., which becomes the Dulles Greenway, until it ends at the Rt. 7/15 Leesburg Bypass (22 mi.). Go west on the 7/15 bypass, and exit at second exit (Rt. 7 Leesburg Business). Turn right onto Rt. 7 East; go approx. 100 yards to traffic light. Turn right onto Catoctin Circle at light, go 1/8 mi. and turn right again at Children's Center Rd; proceed to cul-de-sac and Sanctuary driveway. Sanctuary is at 802 Children's Center Rd. Map

Snicker's Gap, VA
From DC Beltway, take VA-7 west about 45 miles to VA-601. Turn left and immediately right into commuter lot.

Sycamore Landing (C & O Canal)
From DC Beltway, go west on River Rd. (MD-190) 15.8 miles. Go left on Sycamore Landing Rd. to parking lot.

Webb Sanctuary, Clifton, VA
From DC Beltway, take I-66 W about 10 mi. to Fairfax Co. Pkwy. (CTY 7100), South/Springfield exit. Go south on parkway, staying in right lane, and get off at next exit, Lee Hwy (US 29). At top of exit ramp, turn right on Lee Hwy and go to 2nd traffic light. Go left on Clifton Rd. into town of Clifton, turn right on Chestnut St., and follow it to the sanctuary at the end.

Woodend Sanctuary, Chevy Chase, MD
From DC Beltway, go south on Connecticut Ave. Make left on Manor Rd. At end of Manor Rd. make right onto Jones Bridge Rd. At "T" intersection, go left on Jones Mill Rd; sanctuary is at 8940 Jones Mill on the left.

Woodbridge/Occoquan Bay NWR, VA
From DC Beltway, go south on I-95 to Exit 161 (Woodbridge), a left-hand exit merging onto US-1 south. Cross Occoquan Bridge to second light. Go left on Dawson Beach Rd.; gate is ½ mile, parking lot is in center of refuge.

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