Hugg-Thomas Wildlife Management Area (WMA)
Size: Several hundred acres. (The Maryland
Park Service includes Hugg-Thomas on the Patapsco Valley
State Park trails map.)
Habitat: Mature upland deciduous forest
with healthy understory, extensive fields and hedgerows,
small streams, wetland areas and ponds. Lawn area around
the parking lot and across the road around outbuildings
and retention pond.
Best Months: Year-round interest, but fall
(Sundays only; see below) and spring migration are best
for greatest variety and rarities.
Coverage Time: Several hours to a half
Trails/Paths: Trails are a network of dirt
roads, trails, and grassy swaths cut into the fields and
Notable Birds: Hooded Merganser, Wild
Turkey (domesticated birds wander near the parking lot),
Least Bittern, Peregrine Falcon, Virginia Rail, American
Woodcock, Black-billed Cuckoo, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher,
Least Flycatcher, Philadelphia Vireo, Gray-cheeked
Thrush, 28 species of warblers (migrant and breeding),
Amenities: Parking area and informational
board. Picnic table. No facilities. Sykesville, across
the river, has a visitor center with facilities, as well
as several restaurants.
Handicapped Access: Good birding from level
parking area and across the road around outbuildings. The
field area on the north side is generally level. Other
trails have moderate grades, becoming steeper on the
Operation and Hours: No posted hours.
Hunting or trespassing is by permit only
Monday through Saturday during fall (from September 1),
winter, and spring small game and Wild Turkey hunting
seasons. Check the
hunters' guide for the period September through May.
Sunday access is always permitted.
Special Attractions: An interesting mix of
mature woods with a healthy understory, fields, streams
and some manmade ponds makes Hugg-Thomas WMA an
attractive birding destination.