Irish Grove Sanctuary - Maryland Ornithological Society

At a glance

Size: 1,610 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 plumbing and overnight options.
eBird: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L450231

Additional Notes

To access the site or book an overnight stay, contact Shirley Taylor (410-546-4717).

Irish Grove Sanctuary (Somerset County)

The original property for this sanctuary was purchased in 1968. In 1971, 2008 and 2017, additional parcels were purchased or donated. At 1,610 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 Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Seaside Sparrow, and Boat-tailed Grackle. Eighty to ninety species are known to winter there, including waterfowl, sparrows, hawks and owls. Approximately 250 species have been recorded 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 tops, 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.

Birding is usually done by foot on “dry” and marsh trails. The “dry” trails follow roads and dikes near the house. Please note that the “dry” trails often have wet spots of standing water. Marsh trails are marked by poles in the marsh that show a relatively safe route across the marsh. Knee-high waterproof boots are recommended on the marsh trails. There are three observation towers – one on Round Pond, one on Canal Road and one in the marsh on the shore of East Creek. Birding is good along Rumbly Point Road all the way to the boat launch at the end. Good tidal canoeing is possible. Visitors need to bring their own canoes, which at high tide only may be launched in the canal that that goes into East Creek at the end of Canal Road. At other times the boat launch at the end of Rumbly Point Road may be used.

With abundant on-site parking available, Irish Grove can host large gatherings. This is especially important for the work weekends held at the Sanctuary each spring and fall. If you wish to participate, please contact Sanctuary Committee Chair Dominic Nucifora.

Overnight Stay Fees

Individuals: Fees are $7.50 per night for MOS members, $10.00 per night for nonmembers, and $4.00 per night for children to age 18.
Family of related individuals: Fees are $20.00 per night for MOS members and $25.00 per night for nonmembers.
Groups such as schools, clubs, scout troops, etc: Fees are $25.00 for groups up to ten individuals and $3.00 for each additional individual. At least one individual in the group must be a MOS member.

Overnight Stay Regulations

  • Reservations must be made in advance.
  • Follow the procedures on the Check-in/Check-out Form sent to the person in charge.
  • You must bring your own bedding and linens.
  • If you plan to use the wood stove or fireplaces, gather or bring as much wood as you plan to use.
  • DO NOT LEAVE ANY FOOD BEHIND.
  • Take all your garbage and trash with you. Do not leave it in the wood stove or fireplaces.
  • Please leave a note in the log book describing your stay.
  • Each party is responsible for leaving the sanctuary houses clean and orderly, and closing up according to the respective Check-out procedures.

Directions to Irish Grove

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

Donate to the MOS Sanctuary Fund

Sanctuary Fund Donation Form

The Maryland Ornithological Society (MOS) is pleased to announce that the children of Chandler and Eleanor Robbins have presented MOS with a generous gift of property in Garrett County, to be known as the Chandler and Eleanor Robbins Sanctuary at Red Run. In addition, MOS is purchasing additional land to increase the size of the Irish Grove MOS Sanctuary. Part of the purchase price will come from a bequest from the late Chandler Robbins. To fund the remainder of the purchase price for the Irish Grove land, MOS is seeking donations for its Sanctuary Fund. Donated funds will also provide for ongoing maintenance and operations of the new Robbins Sanctuary at Red Run, as well as the other nine MOS sanctuaries across the state. MOS is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and all donations are tax-deductible.

You may donate online, below. To donate offline, you may use the download the Sanctuary Fund donation form.

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Donation Total: $50.00