Ebenezer Church State Recreation Area

By Will Cook

Overview: The best spot in the Triangle to look for rare water birds, Ebenezer Point has a commanding view of the heart of Jordan Lake, opposite Vista Point. It's also a migrant trap in fall.

Getting there: Ebenezer is 2.3 miles south of Hwy. 64 on Beaver Creek Road (SR1008) on the east side of Jordan lake. There's a well-marked entrance on the right.

Coordinates for Google Earth/Maps: 35 42 28.6 N, 79 01 38 W

Ebenezer Point, Jordan Lake

Where to go: Drive all the way to the end of the main road and park. Walk, with scope in hand to the very point for the best vantage. Conveniently, the bathroom facilities are right next to the best scoping spot. After you've thoroughly scoped the Point, check the gulls at the swim beach — a Franklin's Gull showed up here once. The other picnic shelter areas and the boat ramp are also worth checking out. Explore the network of roads and trails for migrants and resident land birds.

What to look for: Diving ducks, loons, grebes, and gulls are common during the winter. Bonaparte's Gulls are particularly common here. Be sure to scan the Bonies for Little Gull - one turned up here in March 1994. The most mind-blowing rarity found here was North Carolina's first Long-billed Murrelet in December 1994. Many rare sea- and shorebirds were seen here after Hurricane Fran, including Audubon's Shearwater, Bridled Tern, and Black Skimmers. Be sure to check the shore for shorebirds and sparrows - many interesting one have been found here. In winter, the swim beach usually has a good-sized flock of gulls to look through. The shape of the area tends to concentrate migrant landbirds in the fall, since the flocks tend to stop and bounce back to the woods when the come to the water. The various side roads and woodland trails can be good for migrants and resident land birds, such as Brown-headed Nuthatch.

Facilities: Bathrooms, picknicking, swimming beach, boat ramps, water, drink machines, handicapped accessible. No camping. Gate hours: November-February 8am-6pm; March, October 8am-7pm; April, May, September 8am-8pm; June-August 8am-9pm. Entrance fee is $4 per car, $3 for senior citizens 62 years of age or older. The fee is collected every day from May through Labor Day, only on weedends in April and September (after Labor Day). No fee from October through March. There is no pass you can buy, but you can get a booklet of 10 tickets for $30. If you pay a fee on a certain day here, you can also visit other S.R.A.'s at Jordan Lake without paying more. See http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/jord/main.php for more details on facilities. Call Park office at (919) 362-0586 for more details on the fees.

When to visit: Fall through Spring.

Revised 1/11/2009 cwcook@duke.edu

Triangle Birder's Guide home | Chatham/Jordan Lake | Durham/Falls Lake | Orange | Wake