NYSOA 2022 Field Trip Options
This is a tentative list of field trips that can be expected during the conference but are subject to change. Field Trip sign-up will be available at the sign-in table at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center on 9/30.
Saturday, October 01
- West Barrier Bar Park (location, eBird hotspot) This 13-acre park can be full of surprises. 237 bird species have been reported on ebird from this location. There is a rocky shoreline where the lake can be scoped for waterfowl and some sparse vegetation and a few trees that can conceal migrating birds. In fall of 2021, there was still a good selection of songbirds, warblers, and shorebirds passing through including Lapland Longspur and American Golden-Plover. With low lake levels, this is possible again this year.
- Fair Haven Beach State Park & Little Sodus Bay (location, eBird hotspot) This 1,141-acre state park is located on the east side of Little Sodus Bay, northeast of the village of Fair Haven. The park includes shoreline bluffs, sandy beaches and adjoining hilly woodlands. Inland, the park includes Sterling Pond and Sterling Creek. The pond and the bay can yield a good variety of waterfowl including Red-throated Loons and rare shorebirds such as Purple Sandpiper, in winter months.
- Sterling Nature Center (location, eBird hotspot) This 1,428-acre nature center has ten miles of hiking trails and two miles of Lake Ontario shoreline to explore. There is good wildlife diversity here because of the variety of habitats occurring on the center property. There are wetlands, vernal pools, woodland, creeks, and meadows. The lake can be scanned for waterbirds from the bluffs and many migrants songbirds can be found in the woodlands. The trip will be led by Jim D’Angelo, the center’s director.
- Rice Creek Biological Field Station (location, eBird hotspot) This station is a unit of SUNY Oswego and is used for academic instruction, research, as well as public service. 5-miles of trail runs across forest, wetland, and meadows and the visitor building offers feeders and water gardens that attract birds of many species. A wide variety of songbirds, waterfowl, and shorebirds can be observed here. Dan Baldassarre, SUNY Oswego Professor and ornithologist will be leading this trip and will discuss some of his research on the behavioral ecology of urban Northern Cardinals which he performs at this station.
- Sunset Bay Park (location, eBird hotspot) This park is well-known to local birders as a hotspot for warblers in the spring. In fact, 223 bird species have been reported on ebird. There is a path through wet forest and along the shoreline. Some interesting water birds like Greater Black-backed Gull, Northern Pintail, and scoter and loon species have been seen in the fall as well as Horned Lark.
- Richard A. Noyes Bird Sanctuary (location, eBird hotspot) Onondaga Audubon owns this 90-acre property. 201 bird species have been reported here and in early fall there may be some lingering warblers, thrushes, or other passerines Several miles of trails wind through wet woodland to the Lake Ontario shoreline. This can be an owl stopover hotspot with Northern Saw-whet occasionally observed and Long-eared and Boreal Owls rarely observed. Birders are urged to wear rubber boots to protect themselves from poison ivy that is encroaching on the muddy trail in places.
- Derby Hill Bird Observatory (location, eBird hotspot) Onondaga Audubon’s Derby Hill, located on the southeastern corner of Lake Ontario in Oswego County, NY, is one of the premier hawk watches in the Northeastern United States. 290 different bird species have been reported on ebird from Derby Hill. Although spring is the best time for witnessing raptor migration from the hill, fall migration still brings some raptors as well as brant, loons, seaducks and jeagers in the water off the bluff. Sparrows, finches, and other passerines still forage in the hedgerows. Who knows what a trek around the field edges might yield?
- Deer Creek Marsh WMA (location, eBird hotspot) Local birding expert, Matt Brown will lead you around this 1,771 acre wildlife management area which consists of open cattail marsh and bog protected by an extensive barrier dune system with a pebbled sandy shoreline. Migrants of all types can be observed at this site including marsh birds, waterfowl, and songbirds. Opportunities to naturalize unique plant species as well as enjoy avian migrants are possible at this truly beautiful location.
Sunday, October 02
- Derby Hill Bird Observatory (location, eBird hotspot) see above (7.)
- 9. Sandy Island Beach SP (location, eBird hotspot) This trip will be to the northern outlet portion of the park which is only accessible by a 6-mile round trip hike or by boat/kayak. This is one of the few sites colonized by nesting Great Lakes Piping Plovers and is a fantastic migrant trap for songbirds and can be even better for shorebirds. New York’s first and only Snowy Plover was observed here in 2021 and Common Ringed Plover, Marbled Godwit, Northern Wheatear, and many other uncommon species were observed last year as well. With low water levels, shorebird migration is already picking up at the site and it is expected to continue through October. This trip is planned for Sunday and may require early sign up and a small fee. More details will be forthcoming.
- 10. Black Pond WMA (location, eBird hotspot) Located in Jefferson County, this 526-acre parcel has a boardwalk running through its unique natural wetland complex bordered by a barrier dune system which is a photographers dream. Migrant warblers can be abundant in the fall and many gull species can be observed on the beach. This trip will likely be combined with the El Dorado Coastal Preserve hike.
- 11. El Dorado Beach Preserve (location, eBird hotspot) This unique preserve run by The Nature Conservancy exhibits unique alvar, cedar woodland, grassland, and wetland habitats as well as a freshwater dune barrier system. 248 bird species have been observed here and late fall migration can bring impressive concentrations of migrating flycatchers, warblers, vireo, sparrows, waterfowl and shorebirds. This trip is scheduled for Sunday morning.
- 12. Oneida Shores County Park (location, eBird hotspot) If your route home takes you south of Lake Ontario, this trip may be for you. Located on the SW edge of Oneida Lake in Cicero, NY, this park is the perfect migrant trap with 203 bird species observed here. Abundant shorebirds and waterfowl can be found on its small shoreline, and many unique bird species can be seen in the trees and along the road including Philadelphia Vireo, a wide variety of warblers, Snow Bunting, winter finches, and Red-headed Woodpecker. Trees can be nearly dripping with birds on a heavy migration day in the fall.
- 13. Three Rivers WMA (location, eBird hotspot) This WMA is 3,607 acres consisting of woods, ponds, and marshes in the Town of Lysander (Phoenix, NY). It offers excellent birding year round but is known for its regular presence of breeding Sedge Wren and other grassland specialists during the summer. Migrating songbirds are abundant in the fall and less common species such as Northern Saw-whet Owl and Grey-cheeked Thrush are possible. This WMA is large so learning the best birding spots from our excellent trip leader will help for future visits to this site.