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Indian Springs WMA, Washington County, MD (Sp,S,F,W)
General Description. This 6,400-acre track of Maryland State owned land in Washington County is a wonderful birding destination for spring and fall migrants. At least 122 species have been observed within the WMA lands. Most of the habitat is upland deciduous woodlands of oak and maple. Numerous streams and a large man-made lake that is stocked for fishing are here as well. The northern border is the Mason-Dixon line separating Maryland from Pennsylvania. Following Hanging Rock Road to the west and turning north onto AT&T’s access road gets you into a bird rich valley with a stream along the western edge of the road. Farther to the west along Hanging Rock Road will bring you to Catholic Church Road on the right. There are numerous “birdy” spots along this road and the side roads off of it. There are private property sections within the WMA so be alert to not trespass without permission from the landowner.
Seasonal Variations in Birding. A great starting point are the lands on either side of Blair’s Valley Road just south of the state line. To the east, a small parking area allows access to over grown fields that are well into secondary successional growth. These areas support White-eyed Vireo and Gray Catbird as well as Whip-poor-will and Chipping Sparrow.
The west side of Blair’s Valley Road, just south of the state line, contains a large wetland/field and wooded swamp. Here American Woodcock display in late winter. Breeders include Blue-winged Warbler, Indigo Bunting, Scarlet Tanager, Yellow-breasted Chat and others.
Following the trail to the west takes you up the east face of Bear Pond Mountain. Listen for Common Raven that nest in the rock outcroppings along the ridge. Ruffed Grouse were once heard in this area as well and will hopefully make a come back. Wood Thrush, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Northern Parula, American Redstart, Black-and-white Warbler, Ovenbird, Worm-eating Warbler, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and many others breed in the rich woods of this mountain. Pileated, Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Northern Flicker breed here as well. Along the AT&T access road there are Louisiana Waterthrush as well as the host of other breeding songbirds listed above. This road can be a good place to see a Black Bear as well. DO NOT go beyond the gate! You will not make it very far and you may be arrested.
Wandering around the roads and trails within the WMA can be very rewarding for the avid birder and naturalist. There are vast areas of intact upland hardwoods and cove hardwoods to explore. Spring migration can be very productive especially along higher elevations and near water features. Fall migration is also great fun and seems to be best at lower elevations especially along Blair’s Valley Road.
Directions. From Interstate 70 at exit 18 go north on route 68 through the town of Clear Spring to Broadfording Road. Turn right and continue 0.6 miles and turn left onto Blair’s Valley Road. Continue 4.2 miles, staying on Blair’s Valley Road to reach the eastern parking lot at the north end of the WMA. At 2.6 miles from Broadfording Road, you may want to stop at the headquarters building to get a map of the area and trails.
Caution. This is a Wildlife Management Area and hunting is allowed. See the Maryland DNR website for season, dates and times when hunting will be on going.