For more than three decades the pond at the turkey farm in Fulton on MD 216 1.1 miles west of US 29 has produced more unusual species for its size than almost any other location in the county. Observing it safely is a problem. MD 216 is a heavily traveled commuter route. Traffic has multiplied in the last decade with the addition of four schools just east of the pond and the ongoing development of Maple Lawn east of the schools. When school is not in session, turn into the school complex and park in the first lot on the left adjacent to Fulton Elementary School. A chain link fence marks the property boundary. The pond can be scoped from the fenceline. There is a wide shoulder on the section of MD 216 in front of the elementary school. If you choose to stop there, avoid the fire hydrants and be alert to the heavy traffic. Do not trespass on the farm, and use extreme caution when walking or standing along the road.
GPS: N39 09 02.4 W76 55 14.2 SW Ponds - Fulton Pond
In the winter, one or more Cackling Geese and Snow Geese are present occasionally in the flock of Canadas. During migration there may be an assortment of diving and puddle ducks which have included both teal, Gadwall, Lesser Scaup, and Bufflehead with an occasional Pied-billed Grebe. (The Mute Swan is not a countable bird.) Shorebirds tend to congregate at the southwest edge of the pond (not easily visible except from the school) and at the outlet from the west pasture where there is a mudflat. Brant, American Avocet, American Golden-Plover, Sanderling, White-rumped Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitcher, Long-billed Dowitcher, and Wilson's Phalarope have been notable sightings. Both yellowlegs, Pectoral, Least, and Semipalmated sandpipers are regulars, although any county shorebird could show up here. Two Glossy Ibises were a lovely surprise one late April day. Caspian Tern and Bonaparte's Gull are annual. Up to several dozen may loaf along the south bank of the pond or in the field on the south side of the road. Scan the field for shorebirds as well. Both Black Tern and Forster's Tern have been recorded over the pond. Sadly, Laughing Gull is no longer an annual species—they have become extremely unusual anywhere in the county, but they do show up occasionally. Three Lesser Black-backed Gulls on a January day were a one-time wonder. Common Ravens occasionally fly over. Both Merline and Peregrine Falcone have been noted. A variety of swallow species including Bank and Cliff may be present for short periods in the spring along with resident Barn Swallows. This is not a deep pond nor does it have a strong inflow so it is generally frozen from late fall to late winter.
After checking the pond on the north side of the road and the field on the south side opposite the pond, continue west on MD 216 as it curves to the right to obtain another perspective. Park in the post office parking lot on the left. Directly across the road is a cattle pasture. (Although birders often refer to this property as the "turkey farm," it is also a working dairy farm.) Cattle Egrets have been recorded here half a dozen years from late April to mid-November. Canada Geese congregate during the colder months. Snow and Cackling geese have both been spotted with regularity. Once a Greater White-fronted Goose was present. A Brant was found following a major storm. Horned Larks and American Pipits are occasional. Despite the explosion of nearby development, birders continue to find special county bird species here.