The Prothonotary Warbler got its name from the bright yellow robes worn by papal clerks, known as prothonotaries, in the Roman Catholic church.
Prothonotary warbler The Prothonotary Warbler got its name from the bright yellow robes worn by papal clerks, known as prothonotaries, in the Roman Catholic church. © Matthew Wroblewski / flickr Creative Commons CC by 2.0

Places We Protect

Frank M. Ewing / Robinson Neck Preserve

Maryland / DC

A birder's delight of undisturbed waterfowl habitat and a sanctuary for bald eagles.

The brackish marshes of Robinson Neck Preserve are of extraordinary ecological value for wintering and nesting waterfowl, spawning fish, sediment control, and nutrient production.

Many such brackish bay marshes have been drained or filled for farmland and development.  Nearby upland forests provide an important buffer in the protection of these marshes and the entire Chesapeake Bay.

By protecting these habitats, we can help sustain the natural systems that are the lifeblood of the Chesapeake Bay.

Established in 1977 by a generous donation from Frank M. Ewing, Robinson Neck is a birder's delight. Keep an eye out for bald eagles, osprey, and marsh hawks. 

May is the best time for birdwatching, when migration is at a peak; summer brings a proliferation of flowering plants and marsh grasses; fall brings migrating birds, highlighted by warblers and puddle ducks.

This mature forest also provides ideal habitat for the federally endangered Delmarva fox squirrel (Sciurus niger cinereus).  Fox squirrels are larger and have bushier tails than common gray squirrels.  Don't be disappointed if you don't see one; they are much more elusive than our common friends.

POISON IVY ALERT : If you are highly allergic to poison ivy, we recommend that you avoid this preserve altogether.

Perched prothonotary warbler
Frank M Ewing Robinson Neck Preserve
An undisturbed waterfowl and upland habitat, the preserve affords a sanctuary for the bald eagle and is an exceptional black duck nesting location.

Frank M. Ewing / Robinson Neck Preserve The preserve is a birder's delight, where one finds undisturbed waterfowl habitat and a sanctuary for bald eagles.

Know Before You Go

The Nature Conservancy’s preserves are set aside to protect natural plant and animal communities. Please follow these guidelines to protect yourself and nature.

  • Preserves are open to the public during daylight hours. 
  • Passive recreation such as walking, bird watching, and photography is welcomed.  

The following activities are not allowed:

  • Bringing dogs onto the preserve.  Dogs are not permitted at any Conservancy preserve.
  • Picking flowers, mushrooms, etc.
  • Removing rocks or other parts of the landscape.
  • Smoking.
  • Camping, fires or cookouts.
  • Driving motorized vehicles, including ATV’s, except on designated access roads.
  • Biking.
  • Fishing, trapping, or hunting, except as otherwise posted.
  • Horseback riding.
  • Feeding wildlife.
  • Releasing animals or introducing plants.
  • Disposing of trash or other waste, including biodegradable materials.

To minimize impact, we ask that you please also observe the following:

  • Use trails.
  • Avoid walking in wet, boggy areas.
  • Inspect pant legs and shoes to remove seeds before entering and when leaving the preserve. Failure to do so could introduce unwanted weeds to new locations.
  • If you flush a ground nesting bird - stop and avoid walking near the nest area.
  • Observe all posted signs.
  • Please do not remove stakes, signs, flagging, tape or other objects - they might be part of a research project.
  • Please do not trespass on private property adjacent to the preserve.
Download an Audio Tour

Planning a visit to Frank M. Ewing / Robinson Neck Preserve? Before your trip, download our self-guided audio tour to your handheld device. It's like having a naturalist in your pocket!

Step 1: Download the Robinson Neck audio tour map (pdf). This map will help identify which audio tracks to play based on your location on the trail, so make sure to take a copy with you on your trip.



Step 2: Download and save the mp3 audio files to your handheld device. Play the corresponding track when you reach a waypoint along the trail. Listen to them all or pick & choose based on your interests!

Tour Stops / Audio Files (mp3)

1. Robinson Neck Introduction

2. Tree Clearing with Pond

3. Wildlife at the Trail Gate

4. Ponds on Left and Right

5. Cattail opening

6. Start of Boardwalk / Delmarva Fox Squirrel

7. Bench Near Pond / Human Habitation

8. At Post 7 / Bayberry Bush

9. Bench View at Post 10

10. Biodiversity at End of Trail

11. Sika deer call

An historic family cemetery dating from the early 19th century is nestled within Robinson Neck Preserve.. Flanked by encroaching marsh, the cemetery is facing a fate that is predicted to become commonplace on the Eastern Shore. 

Within the next hundred years, the stones will likely be underwater.

TNC Project Manager, and life-long Eastern Shore resident, Joe Fehrer recently conducted a survey of the cemetery. His goal is to get it added to the inventory of historic places through the Maryland Historic Trust.

Located on on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Robinson Neck Preserve is largely comprised of brackish tidal marsh and provides a haven for many bird species.
Robinson Neck Preserve Located on on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Robinson Neck Preserve is largely comprised of brackish tidal marsh and provides a haven for many bird species. © Matt Kane / TNC
A long forgotten cemetery plot belonging to the Robson family was discovered on the Robinson Neck Preserve a number of years ago.
Robinson Neck Cemetery A long forgotten cemetery plot belonging to the Robson family was discovered on the Robinson Neck Preserve a number of years ago. © Matt Kane / TNC
It’s expected that most of Robinson Neck Preserve will be lost to sea level rise, including the land on which this historic cemetery plot rests.
Robinson Neck Cemetery It’s expected that most of Robinson Neck Preserve will be lost to sea level rise, including the land on which this historic cemetery plot rests. © Matt Kane / TNC
There are many historic cemeteries like this one around the Chesapeake Bay that will likely turn to marsh or disappear completely as sea levels climb higher.
Robinson Neck Cemetery There are many historic cemeteries like this one around the Chesapeake Bay that will likely turn to marsh or disappear completely as sea levels climb higher. © Matt Kane / TNC
Not wanting to see this site completely lost to history, lifelong Eastern Shore resident and TNC project manager Joe Fehrer collects data for the MD Historical Trust.
Robinson Neck Cemetery Not wanting to see this site completely lost to history, lifelong Eastern Shore resident and TNC project manager Joe Fehrer collects data for the MD Historical Trust. © Matt Kane / TNC
Though the cemetery may be lost to ravages of time and rising waters, knowledge of the place and those buried there will be preserved.
Robinson Neck Cemetery Though the cemetery may be lost to ravages of time and rising waters, knowledge of the place and those buried there will be preserved. © Matt Kane / TNC
As the preserve and other places around the Chesapeake Bay gradually transform, local communities face tough decisions about how best to preserve the region’s history.
Robinson Neck Preserve As the preserve and other places around the Chesapeake Bay gradually transform, local communities face tough decisions about how best to preserve the region’s history. © Matt Kane / TNC