Irish Grove Sanctuary - Maryland Ornithological Society

At a glance

Address: 4110 Rumbly Point Road, Marion Station, MD 21838
Size: 2,326 acres
Habitat: Saltmarsh, Loblolly pine woods, fresh and saltwater ponds.
Trails: Yes.
Notable birds seen: Saltmarsh Sparrow, Seaside Sparrow, Virginia Rail.
Parking: Yes.
Facilities on site: Outhouse, house with indoor plumbing. House overnight options for MOS members or organized groups; advance reservations necessary.
eBird: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L450231
Birder’s Guide Description (includes trail map): https://birdersguidemddc.org/site/irish-grove-mos-sanctuary/
Driving Directions: Google Maps

Irish Grove Sanctuary (Somerset County)

MOS purchased the original property for this sanctuary in 1968. The sanctuary has grown since then, with additional parcels added through purchase or donation in 1971, 1992, 2008, 2017 and 2019.  At 2,326 acres, Irish Grove is MOS’s largest sanctuary.

Birding is best in spring, fall and winter. Some of the breeding birds include: herons, Glossy Ibis, American Black Duck, Osprey, rails, Willet, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Marsh Wren, Pine Warbler, Saltmarsh Sparrow, Seaside Sparrow, and Boat-tailed Grackle. Eighty to ninety species are known to winter at Irish Grove, including waterfowl, sparrows, hawks and owls. Over 250 species have been reported in the sanctuary.

Reptiles and amphibians such as salamanders, frogs, toads, snakes, and turtles are plentiful and there is a good variety of typical mammals, including red fox, one of which has a den not far from the buildings.

Insects abound during the months of June through September. There are deer flies, green heads, mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, and punkies by the thousands. Visitors during the summer and early fall are advised to take head nets, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and several cans of repellents and salves.

Buildings include a house with four bedrooms, living room, museum/library room, dining room, kitchen, bath and screened porch; tool and storage sheds; a pole barn with one half screened in for an outdoor dining area; and a double latrine. The plumbing in the house is winterized from November to April. Winter visitors must bring their own water and refrain from using the drains in the sinks.

Some of the dirt roads within the Sanctuary can be driven and birded from the car. These roads are marked with signs and include Dotty Lane, the Canal Road, Robbins Way, and Round Pond Trail. If the roads are soft, take care to avoid getting stuck. A drive or walk down Rumbly Point Road to Rumbly Point is productive at any time of year. Parts of the road, which is sand-surfaced, may be underwater at high tide or during high winds.

Birding can also be done on foot on trails that follow roads and dikes near the house. Please note that these trails often have wet spots of standing water and there may be holes in the trail that contain deep water. Conditions change often and extreme caution must be taken to avoid becoming mired in mud or deep water. Waterproof boots are recommended on the foot trails.

There are three observation platforms – one on Round Pond, a high tower on Canal Road and one in the marsh on the shore of East Creek. The East Creek platform can only be reached by canoe or kayak. Birding is good along Rumbly Point Road all the way to the end of the road at Pocomoke Sound.

Good tidal canoeing or kayaking is possible. Visitors need to bring their own canoes/kayaks, which at high tide only may be launched in the canal that goes into East Creek at the end of Canal Road.

With abundant on-site parking and overnight accommodations, Irish Grove can host personal birding visits as well as large gatherings, such as nature student camps or research projects. Reservations must be made in advance using the Reservation Request Form.

The MOS Sanctuary Committee sponsors volunteer work weekends at the Sanctuary each spring and fall, when routine maintenance and improvement projects take place. The dates are announced in the MOS calendar and by email to MOS members. If you wish to participate, please contact the Sanctuary Committee Chair.

Overnight Stay Regulations and Reservations Request Form

  • Please read the Overnight Stay Regulations for Personal Visits by MOS members. [provide hyperlink]
  • Then make your reservations in advance using the Irish Grove Sanctuary Reservation Request Form.
  • The Reservations Coordinator will confirm your reservation by email and will send you the Check-in/Check-out procedures for opening and closing the house.
  • Note that you must bring your own bedding, linens, and food.
  • In the winter, the water in the house is turned off, and you must also bring your own water for drinking, bathing, and washing dishes.
  • DO NOT BRING FIREWOOD FROM OUTSIDE THE PROPERTY. This is to prevent spread of insects that damage trees. If you plan to use the wood stove or outdoor firepit, you must gather downed wood on the property. Do not cut any standing trees, whether living or dead.
  • DO NOT LEAVE ANY FOOD BEHIND WHEN YOU LEAVE.
  • Take all your garbage and trash with you.
  • Please leave a note in the log book describing your stay.
  • Make sure that all windows are closed and that the house is securely locked when you leave.
  • You are responsible for leaving the sanctuary houses clean and orderly, and closing up according to the Check-out procedures and the Regulations. [provide hyperlink]

Overnight Stay Fees:

  • At least one person staying overnight on a personal visit must be an MOS member.
  • Overnight stays at Irish Grove are a flat rate of $25 per night, regardless of the number of visitors.
  • Additional donations are always appreciated and help to maintain the MOS Sanctuaries.
  • Groups such as schools, clubs, scout troops, research projects and so on may request a waiver or reduction in the fees for bona fide nature study programs, research projects, nature education programs, etc. Contact the Irish Grove Reservations Coordinator at IGreservations@mdbirds.org to inquire about fee waivers or reductions.

We encourage payment of sanctuary overnight fees through our online payment form. Payment is not required at the time of requesting a reservation, but is required before you arrive; the Sanctuary Reservations Coordinator will provide a link to the payment form upon confirmation of your reservation. Please wait until your reservation has been confirmed before submitting payment. Please submit payment prior to your arrival.

If not able to pay online, you may send a check, made payable to the Maryland Ornithological Society, to Pat Valdata, the Irish Grove Reservations Coordinator. If you want to pay by check, please let Pat Valdata know by sending her an email at IGreservations@mdbirds.org, and she will provide her mailing address to you.

From Salisbury go south on US 13 to Route 413
Go south on Route 413 to Marion 6 miles
Go East (Left) onto Tull’s Corner to a “T” 1.2 miles
Turn left on Whittington Road to Quindocqua Road 0.3 miles
Turn right on Quindocqua Road to Rumbly Point Road (a “T”) 1 mile
Turn right on Rumbly Point Road to the sanctuary (last house on right) 1.1 miles

Sanctuary Fund Donation Form

The Maryland Ornithological Society (MOS) appreciates donations designated to the Sanctuary Fund, which supports the ongoing maintenance and operations of the ten MOS sanctuaries, as well as for acquisition of additional lands. MOS is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and all donations are tax-deductible.

I wish to remain anonymous.
Please acknowledge my gift in lists of donors published in the Maryland Yellowthroat and elsewhere.
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Billing Details

Donation Total: $50.00