iB)2006 Jamie Stewart
Explore the Watershed

Wissahickon Waterfowl Preserve

    Trail Head

    93 Maple St, Ambler, PA 19002

    Length

    511 ft

    Difficulty

    Easy

    Amenities

    Along Water, Birding Hotspot, Picnic Area or Benches, Stroller Friendly, Hard Trail Surface, Leashed dogs

Trail Overview

This 18-acre preserve located in Ambler near the Wissahickon Creek is owned and maintained by the Wissahickon Waterfowl Preserve (WWP), a 501c(3) nonprofit and subsidiary of Wissahickon Trails.  

 

The Wissahickon Waterfowl Preserve is an example of how a community can come together to reduce the negative impacts that humans can have on the natural world and turn it into something beautiful. At the encouragement of local birders and community members, Wissahickon Trails purchased the site in 2006. In 2007, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency became involved and declared three parcels as a superfund site, now known as the BoRit  Asbestos Superfund Site. During this time, the EPA worked with the community and a Community Action Group (CAG) was formed to provide input. According to the EPA, they removed any potential risk from asbestos and completed all removal cleanup work in 2017. After the work was completed, a 511-foot hard surface walking path and benches were installed around the fenced-in 11-acre pond. The pond is fenced-in for the safety of visitors and to prevent accident or injury. 

 

One of our more accessible preserves, visitors can connect to this trail on foot from the Green Ribbon Trail or Ambler Borough and can arrive by bicycle, car, bus, or regional rail. 

 

The reservoir provides important habitat for a variety of birds year-round. Follow the crushed stone path along its perimeter and you are likely to see wood ducks, common mergansers, great blue and green herons, savannah sparrows, and killdeer. Wintering and migrating birds often seen here include spotted, least, and solitary sandpipers, ruddy and ring-necked ducks, northern shovelers, hooded mergansers, and bufflehead. Rarities like red-necked phalaropes and common goldeneyes have also been documented - check out the eBird Hotspot to see a list of all the species that have been spotted. As you look out across the reservoir toward the island, you will see an artificial chimney. The structure was constructed in 2018 to provide an essential nesting and roosting site for chimney swifts, a remarkable bird whose numbers have been declining. 

 

You can learn more about the EPA’s work here: https://www.epa.gov/ambler/what-epa-doing-ambler-pennsylvania 

Trail Details
  • Parking

    Park along Maple St. headed towards Ambler Ave.

  • Public Transit

    SEPTA Regional Rail Lansdale-Doylestown Line - Ambler Station, Bus Route 94, Bust Route 95

  • Before You Go

    General Trail Rules & Information
  • Trail Rating

    Easy

Providing Habitat for Chimney Swifts

Wissahickon Waterfowl Preserve is a Place to Call Home

Chimney swifts (Chaetura pelagica) are one of the most distinctive bird species in North America, easily identified by their stocky silhouettes, chattering voices, and impressive aerial acrobatics. They are an integral part of a healthy environment, and some of nature’s most effective pest controllers; one bird can devour more than 1,000 mosquitoes in a single day.

In the last few decades, however, chimney swift populations in the United States have dropped more than 50% and Canadian populations by 90%. This decline is partially due to habitat loss. To combat habitat loss, we constructed four of chimney swift towers and installed them at Wissahickon Waterfowl Preserve, Crossways Preserve, Dodsworth Run Preserve, and Fort Washington State Park.

Margaret Rohdei