Top Places For

Spying Winter Waterfowl


The Chesapeake’s celebrated annual waterfowl migration is a cherished symbol of the Bay’s bounty. At these beautiful spots across the region, you can watch for ducks, geese, and swans all winter long.

Each autumn, millions of waterfowl follow the Atlantic Flyway to the Chesapeake to spend winter feasting on the Bay’s rich abundance. Find these handsome birds at spots like Wye Island, Mason Neck, and Hughlett Point, where waterfowl flock to feed and rest through the long winter.

With miles of marshes and undisturbed waters, the Eastern Shore is the region’s hot spot for wintering waterfowl. But you can spy waterfowl rafting on frosty lakes, creeks, and rivers up and down the Bay’s shores, from the Susquehanna Flats all the way to Tidewater Virginia. Go near sunrise or sunset, and you’ll be rewarded with a gorgeous golden view of birds on the water.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is the Chesapeake’s undisputed king of winter waterfowl viewing. A wildlife paradise nestled in the Bay’s vast marshes, Blackwater hosts thousands of migrating birds, including snow geese, teals, and pintails. Other waterfowl magnets on the Eastern Shore include Eastern Neck, Janes Island, and the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center.

The Bay’s western shore attracts a wide variety of winter waterfowl, too. Watch buffleheads and ruddy ducks dive at Hoffler Creek, while at Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge look for black ducks wintering on the icy river. Along the Potomac River, find waterfowl gathering at Virginia state parks like Westmoreland, Caledon, and Mason Neck.

So grab your camera and a pair of binoculars, and discover the Chesapeake’s stunning cold-weather scenery at the top places for spying winter waterfowl.