It has been said that years ago one could walk across the Chester River on the backs of the canvasbacks and other ducks that packed the waters. Those days are long gone, but birds still flock to Kent County: Canada and Snow Geese, 24 species of ducks, Great Blue Herons, terns, swallows, sparrows, blackbirds and eagles are among the 300+ species recorded in the county.
Kent County features a mix of agricultural, wooded, and wetland habitats. Several refuges and managed areas invite birders, photographers, and nature-lovers to explore year-round.
Chesapeake Farms, with a wildlife habitat tour road open to the public in season, can provide close views of waterfowl, eagles, Osprey, shorebirds and songbirds from the comfort of your vehicle.
Trails at Millington Wildlife Management Area, on the Delaware border, meander through the most extensive woodlands in the county. Nesting habitat is ideal for forest-dwelling birds such as Wood Thrush, tanagers, Ovenbird, and Prothonotary, Kentucky, and Worm-eating warblers. Brushy edges here and elsewhere shelter Brown Thrasher, Blue Grosbeak, Yellow-breasted Chat and Orchard Oriole.
Sassafras Natural Resource Management Area and adjacent Turner’s Creek County Park feature a wide variety of open, wooded and river bluff habitat on the Sassafras River. Nesting birds include Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle, Bank Swallow and Yellow Warbler.
Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1962, is a major feeding and roosting place for wintering and migratory waterfowl, including thousands of Tundra swans from mid-November to late February. Ospreys, Bald Eagles and Brown-headed Nuthatches are among the 70+ species of nesting birds on the refuge. Good hiking trails, an observation platform, a boat launch ramp and visitor center are open year round.
Our thanks to Heather Davidson for providing the photographs used in these pages.