Birding Trail

The Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway’s Birding Trail introduces novice birders to the large variety of migratory, breeding, and nesting birds that visit the Cayuga Lake basin and Finger Lakes Region. Many birds can be found only seasonally as they stop here during their migrations. At each trail site there is a kiosk with photographs and descriptions representing a small sample of the variety of birds that can be seen from that particular location. The birds are categorized by the season that they are most frequently seen, and many of the photographs were actually taken at or near that location by local birders.

There are many great free resources for beginning birders to help with bird identification. The following websites/mobile apps are recommended: eBird from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at https://ebird.org/home or Merlin Bird ID at https://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/

Bald Eagle
BALD EAGLE. Photo Credit: © Jay McGowan; eBird Checklist S32012175; Macaulay Library ML37265261; C-S Lock 1 in Cayuga, NY; April 10, 2011

C-S Canal Lock 1 (Mud Lock) 

136 River Road; Cayuga, NY 13034

Waterfowl and migratory birds can be viewed from the boat launch area and along the eastern shore of the lock, looking in all directions towards the lake and the marsh area. There is a Bald Eagle nest on top of the electrical transmission tower to the southwest of the boat launch, and the Bald Eagles are fairly easy to spot in the fall or winter months.

Featured birds to see here are:

  • Spring: American Wigeon, Caspian Tern, Great Blue Heron & Red-winged Blackbird
  • Summer: Mallard, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Osprey & Wood Duck
  • Autumn: Canada Goose, Double-crested Cormorant, Pied-billed Grebe & Ring-necked Duck
  • Winter: Bald Eagle, Snow Goose, Trumpeter Swan & Tundra Swan

For more information about these and other birds that can be observed from this location visit https://ebird.org/hotspot/L99626

 

Double Crested Cormorant
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT. Photo Credit: © Jay McGowan; eBird Checklist S24609929; Macaulay Library ML20076801; Hog Hole (Allan H. Treman State Marine Park) in Ithaca, NY; August 14, 2015

Cass Park & Allan H. Treman State Marine Park 

701 Taughannock Blvd; Ithaca, NY 14850

There are multiple locations to view varying types of birds. The area south of the marina is great for viewing nesting Double-crested Cormorants across the Cayuga Inlet. Waterfowl and migratory birds can be viewed along the lakeshore northwest of the marina. Songbirds are also visible in the fields and woods in and around Hog’s Hole. Note: The ground in the Hog’s Hole area is very wet with dense vegetation, but is accessible during the winter and early spring when the lake’s water level has been lowered.

Featured birds to see here are:

  • Spring: Eastern Bluebird, Eastern Kingbird, Red-winged Blackbird & Yellow Warbler
  • Summer: Belted Kingfisher, Carolina Wren, Common Yellowthroat & Song Sparrow
  • Autumn: Cedar Waxwing, Double-crested Cormorant, Downy Woodpecker & Gray Catbird
  • Winter: Canvasback, Mallard, Pied-billed Grebe & Redhead

For more information about these and other birds that can be observed from this location visit https://ebird.org/hotspot/L281505 for Cass Park, https://ebird.org/hotspot/L159024 for Allan H. Treman State Marine Park, and https://ebird.org/hotspot/L99382 for Hog’s Hole.

 

Snow Goose Flock
SNOW GOOSE FLOCK. Photo Credit: © Nick Kachala; eBird Checklist S33832164; Macaulay Library ML46166011; Cayuga Lake State Park in Seneca Falls, NY; January 21, 2017

Cayuga Lake State Park 

2678 Lower Lake Rd.; Seneca Falls, NY 13148

Waterfowl and migratory birds can be viewed from anywhere along the shoreline, but a particularly good spot is near the main boat launch area. This is a great location to view rarer winter and spring migratory birds. Song birds can be viewed in the woods near cabins and campsites on the western side of NYS Route 89.

Featured birds to see here are:

  • Spring: American Wigeon, Gadwall, Greater Scaup & Redhead
  • Summer: Caspian Tern, Great Blue Heron, Osprey & Wood Thrush
  • Autumn: Black-capped Chickadee, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull & Ring-billed Gull
  • Winter: Mute Swan, Snow Goose, Trumpeter Swan & Tundra Swan

For more information about these and other birds that can be observed from this location visit https://ebird.org/hotspot/L99628

 

Belted Kingfisher
BELTED KINGFISHER. Photo Credit: © David Kennedy; eBird Checklist S35378410; Macaulay Library ML52085691; Dean’s Cove in Romulus, NY; March 23, 2017

Dean’s Cove State Boat Launch 

5761 State Route 89; Romulus, NY 14541

This location is excellent for viewing winter and spring migratory waterfowl. The woods to the south of the boat launch, until you reach the private driveway, is part of this state land and provides viewing areas for songbirds. Likewise, the woods north of the boat launch up to and across Hicks Gully and Johnson Creek is also an area to view various songbirds.

Featured birds to see here are:

  • Spring: Common Goldeneye, Common Loon, Eastern Phoebe & Long-tailed Duck
  • Summer: Belted Kingfisher, Canada Goose, Downy Woodpecker & Song Sparrow
  • Autumn: Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Red-bellied Woodpecker & White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Winter: Horned Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, Snow Goose & Tundra Swan

For more information about these and other birds that can be observed from this location visit https://ebird.org/hotspot/L99694

 

Caspian Tern
CASPIAN TERN. Photo Credit: © Jay McGowan; eBird Checklist S30999745; Macaulay Library ML32842021; Stewart Park in Ithaca, NY; August 6, 2016

East Shore Park 

1000 E Shore Dr; Ithaca, NY 14850

Waterfowl and migratory birds can be viewed from the shoreline near the pavilion. This is a great location to look westward across the lake to watch large flocks of winter and spring migrations.

Featured birds to see here are:

  • Spring: American Tree Sparrow, Common Merganser, Eastern Phoebe & Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  • Summer: American Goldfinch, Barn Swallow, Blue Jay & Caspian Tern
  • Autumn: Black Scoter, Great Black-backed Gull, Hooded Merganser & Ring-billed Gull
  • Winter: Common Goldeneye, Herring Gull, Iceland Gull & White-winged Scoter

For more information about these and other birds that can be observed from this location visit https://ebird.org/hotspot/L140301

 

Bufflehead
BUFFLEHEAD. Photo Credit: © Jay McGowan; eBird Checklist S28852914; Macaulay Library ML26960221; South Pond in Union Springs, NY; April 10, 2016

Frontenac Park 

15 Creamery Rd; Union Springs, NY 13160

There are several great viewing areas including all along the lakeshore; at North Pond and South Pond, which are both spring-fed and do not freeze in the winter; and at the point near the Frontenac Marina at the southern tip of the park. Visitors can also stand on the old railroad bridge at the north end of the park to view birds in the marsh across the old canal; however, please do not venture onto private property.

Featured birds to see here are:

  • Spring: American Wigeon, Bonaparte’s Gull, Common Tern & Green-winged Teal
  • Summer: American Goldfinch, Barn Swallow, Purple Martin & Ring-billed Gull
  • Autumn: Black-capped Chickadee, Dark-eyed Junco, Hooded Merganser & Northern Cardinal
  • Winter: Bufflehead, Gadwall, Northern Pintail & Redhead

For more information about these and other birds that can be observed from this location visit https://ebird.org/hotspot/L99623

 

Great Black Backed Gull
GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL. Photo Credit: © Sandy Covington; eBird Checklist S48741455; Macaulay Library ML116258201; John Harris Park in Cayuga, NY; September 24, 2018

John Harris Park 

6205 Railroad St; Cayuga, NY 13034

Waterfowl and migratory birds can be viewed from the shoreline, looking in all directions towards the lake. This location is especially good for winter birding in the area north of the park near the channel which generally does not freeze over during the winter. It is also a great location for viewing lots of different species of ducks.

Featured birds to see here are:

  • Spring: Bufflehead, Eastern Phoebe, Greater Scaup & Ring-necked Duck
  • Summer: Gray Catbird, Herring Gull, Song Sparrow & Ring-billed Gull
  • Autumn: Belted Kingfisher, Blue Jay, Bonaparte’s Gull & Gadwall
  • Winter: Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Great Black-backed Gull & Redhead

For more information about these and other birds that can be observed from this location visit https://ebird.org/hotspot/L388115

 

Cedar Waxwing
CEDAR WAXWING. Photo Credit: © Jay McGowan; eBird Checklist S39228981; Macaulay Library ML70058991; Long Point State Park in Ledyard, NY; September 17, 2017

Long Point State Park 

2063 Lake Rd; Aurora, NY 13026

Waterfowl and migratory birds can be viewed from the shoreline and the point near the marina, looking in all directions towards the lake. Songbirds, woodpeckers and owls can be viewed along the wooded park trails east of the main road.

Featured birds to see here are:

  • Spring: American Redstart, Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Bluebird & Northern Harrier
  • Summer: Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, Eastern Towhee & Savannah Sparrow
  • Autumn: American Kestrel, Northern Flicker, Short-eared Owl & Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Winter: American Black Duck, Common Loon, Horned Grebe & White-winged Scoter

For more information about these and other birds that can be observed from this location visit https://ebird.org/hotspot/L351196

 

American Coot
AMERICAN COOT. Photo Credit: © Jay McGowan; eBird Checklist S35974646; Macaulay Library ML55275951; Myers Point in Lansing, NY; April 15, 2017

Myers Park 

1 Lansing Park Rd; Lansing, NY 14882

The point at the outlet of Salmon Creek is a great place to look westward across the lake to watch waterfowl and winter/spring migrations. Songbirds and Birds of Prey can be viewed from the Salt Point Natural Area along the many trails. Within this area there are a couple of Osprey nests.

Featured birds to see here are:

  • Spring: Killdeer, Osprey, Spotted Sandpiper & Willow Flycatcher
  • Summer: Caspian Tern, Chipping Sparrow, Orchard Oriole & Warbling Vireo
  • Autumn: American Coot, Carolina Wren, Red-tailed Hawk & Turkey Vulture
  • Winter: American Black Duck, American Tree Sparrow, Common Merganser & Mallard

For more information about these and other birds that can be observed from this location visit https://ebird.org/hotspot/L99615

 

Common Loon
COMMON LOON. Photo Credit: © Glenn Wilson; eBird Checklist S40684886; Macaulay Library ML76413901; Sheldrake Point in Ovid, NY; November 23, 2017

Sheldrake Park 

Ovid, NY 14521

Waterfowl and migratory birds can be viewed from the shoreline. This is a good location to look eastward across the lake to watch large flocks of winter and spring migrations with the wide open views of the lake. The tree cover also provides for songbird viewing in the summer.

Featured birds to see here are:

  • Spring: American Tree Sparrow, Barn Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow & Purple Martin
  • Summer: Baltimore Oriole, Carolina Wren, Gray Catbird & Northern Cardinal
  • Autumn: Belted Kingfisher, Common Loon, Mallard & Ring-billed Gull
  • Winter: American Black Duck, Bufflehead, Canada Goose & Red-breasted Merganser

For more information about these and other birds that can be observed from this location visit https://ebird.org/hotspot/L99384

 

Peregrine Falcon
PEREGRINE FALCON. Photo Credit: © Jay McGowan; eBird Checklist S33380409; Macaulay Library ML44838401; Stewart Park in Ithaca, NY; January 2, 2017

Stewart Park 

71 Stewart Park; Ithaca, NY 14850

There are multiple locations in Stewart Park to view varying types of birds. Lakeshore areas and along the outlet of Fall Creek are great viewing areas for migratory waterfowl. Songbirds and smaller Birds of Prey are found in Renwick Woods and the Fuertes Natural Area. Common geese and ducks can often be found in and around the pond just east of the Fuertes Natural Area. Large flocks of nesting Double-crested Cormorants can be found on the southwest side of Fall Creek.

Featured birds to see here are:

  • Spring: Hooded Merganser, Osprey, Yellow-rumped Warbler & Yellow Warbler
  • Summer: Baltimore Oriole, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Kingbird & Fish Crow
  • Autumn: Brant, Double-crested Cormorant, Green Heron & Ruddy Duck
  • Winter: American Wigeon, Bald Eagle, Bufflehead & Peregrine Falcon

For more information about these and other birds that can be observed from this location visit https://ebird.org/hotspot/L99381

 

Pileated Woodpecker
PILEATED WOODPECKER. Photo Credit: © Tim Lenz; eBird Checklist S7862719; Macaulay Library ML30523841; Stewart Park in Ithaca, NY; March 17, 2011

Taughannock Falls State Park 

Taughannock State Park Access Rd; Trumansburg, NY 14886

There are many great places for bird watching in this vast state park. Waterfowl can be viewed anywhere along the shoreline on the eastern side of Route 89. However, the best location is out on the western point at the outlet of Taughannock Creek; which is an excellent spot for viewing Loons. From the gorge trails and the overlook, songbirds are the most prevalent; but during the summer Turkey Vultures soar high over the gorge and creek areas.

Featured birds to see here are:

  • Spring: Black-throated Blue Warbler, Blue-headed Vireo, Common Raven & Warbling Vireo
  • Summer: Common Grackle, Great Blue Heron, Indigo Bunting & Turkey Vulture
  • Autumn: Common Loon, Common Merganser, Golden-crowned Kinglet & Pileated Woodpecker
  • Winter: Brown Creeper, Canvasback, Redhead & Yellow-rumped Warbler

For more information about these and other birds that can be observed from this location visit https://ebird.org/hotspot/L99383

 

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