Greenfield Lake Area

Sam Cooper

County: New Hanover

Habitats: lake with fringing cypress swamp and residential woodland.

Key birds: Summer: Green Heron, Great Crested Flycatcher, Prothonotary and Yellow-throated Warblers, Summer Tanager. Year-round: Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Little Blue Heron, Wood Duck, Barred Owl, Brown-headed Nuthatch.

Best times to bird: year-round.

Google Map


Description: Greenfield Lake is a birding oasis within busy downtown Wilmington. The lake is within a city park and is fringed by mature cypress trees and a variety of mixed upland woods. A road (Lake Shore Drive) and paved walkway (approximately four miles long) surround most of the lake and provide easy access throughout the park-like setting. The site is a popular tourist attraction during the spring flowering of azaleas.

Directions: Greenfield Lake is located just east of US 421, approximately one mile south of the bridge (US 17/74/76) crossing of the Cape Fear River in Wilmington. From US 421 turn onto Greenfield Street, and then right onto Fourth Street. The parking lot at the end of the street is part of Greenfield Park. The park contains a playground, skate-park, picnic tables, restrooms, and a location for boat rentals. Start exploring along Lake Shore Drive on the north side of the lake. There are a variety of locations to stop and view the lake but two particularly better spots include the area near Lion's Bridge, about 0.3 mile from the main park parking lot, and the picnic tables, about a mile from the main parking lot.

Birding Highlights: Birding can be good year-round for those willing to walk, the park is best birded from the path around the lake. The lake supports a wide diversity of land and water birds. Anhinga are often present, but require patient searching. There is a very small marsh near the picnic tables along the northeastern edge of the lake that may have a Common Moorhen or Least Bittern during the summer. The lake is a good location for a variety of wintering ducks. Eurasian Wigeon have wintered here during several years. Other rarities found here include Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Cinnamon Teal, Black-throated Gray Warbler and Western Tanager. The nearby USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial (across the US 17/74/76 bridge and along the west bank of the Cape Fear River) offers a good spot to find King Rails. Check the ditches along the road in front of the battleship parking lot.

General Information: There are public restrooms at the main parking lot at the end of Fourth Street.

Additional Help

DeLorme map grid: page 84, D1

North Carolina Travel Map grid: I5

For more information: Wilmington Parks and Recreation, 910 341-7852

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