Hotspots Near You

51. Gordons Pond, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Find gannets, loons, ducks, rails, herons, eagles, Osprey, chickadees, and Brown-headed Nuthatches at this coastal hotspot.
By Jeffrey Gordon | Published: 8/22/2008

I love Gordons Pond, even if I can’t claim that it was named in my honor. It’s one of those places I return to time and again, measuring the change of seasons by the birds I find.

In winter, flocks of Snow Geese and other waterfowl are periodically spooked by the resident Bald Eagles, while Northern Gannets, loons, and scoters wing by over the ocean, located just 250 yards east. Summer features breeding Pine Warblers, Seaside Sparrows, and a few pairs of Piping Plovers.

Spring and fall bring the excitement of migrant songbirds, shorebirds, and raptors. And throughout the year, the pine forest harbors roving bands of Brown-headed Nuthatches — their location revealed by their squeaky “rubber ducky” calls.

One of the best things about the area is that you have to get out and walk a little. Or take a bike; the pond is an easy, pleasant ride from the resort town of Rehoboth Beach, where bicycles may be rented. Also be sure to check out the great birding areas north of the pond in the main section of Cape Henlopen State Park, which is accessed from Lewes. — Jeffrey A. Gordon

Jeffrey A. Gordon is a writer, tour leader, and frequent speaker at birding and nature festivals. 

 

51. Gordons Pond, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Directions

Gordons Pond, a part of Cape Henlopen State Park, is one of the best birding sites on the Delaware coast. From Route 1 southbound, exit at Rehoboth Ave. Turn left on Grove St., right on Henlopen Ave., and left on Ocean Dr. Park at the end of Ocean Dr. and take the foot trail around the pond to an observation platform.

Downloadable Files

At a Glance

Click on the coordinates below to view location:
38°44’40.96″N 75°5’21.65″W

Habitat

Brackish pond surrounded by pine forest, salt marsh, and Atlantic Ocean beach.

Terrain

Like all of southern Delaware: flat, flat, flat. Main trail around the pond is a gravel road, suitable for walking or biking.

Birds

Ocean and beach: Red-throated Loon, Horned Grebe, Northern Gannet, and Purple Sandpiper (winter); Piping Plover (spring and summer); and Lesser Black-backed Gull (all year except summer). Pond and marsh: Bald Eagle, Clapper Rail, Fish Crow. Ducks and Snow Goose (winter); Seaside Sparrow, herons, and egrets (all year except winter); Osprey (spring and summer); migrant shorebirds and Merlin (spring and fall). Pine forest and thickets: Carolina Chickadee, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Carolina Wren. Golden-crowned Kinglet and White-throated Sparrow (winter); Pine Warbler (spring and summer); migrant songbirds (spring and fall).

When to go

Very worthwhile year-round. May and October are especially good. Early in the day is best.

Amenities

Downtown Rehoboth Beach has numerous restaurants, lodging, and shops. Well-maintained chemical toilets at parking area. Carry-in/carry-out policy for trash.

Access

State park. Admission charged March 1 to November 30: in-state vehicles $4 per day, out-of-state $8 per day. Open daily 8 a.m. to sunset. Parts of beach may be closed when Piping Plovers are nesting (March 1 to September 1).

Tips

A spotting scope is useful. Biting insects can be annoying from midsummer into early fall.

For more info

Cape Henlopen State Park. Nature center, (302) 645-6852.
Delaware Birding Trail
Delmarva Ornithological Society
DE-BIRD listserv

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