Chirps and Cheeps

A Photo Journal of My Birding Experiences & Observations

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Places I Bird in WNY

Besides your own backyard (where I always find something interesting), there are plenty of places to bird in WNY. I thought it might be handy for new birders if I included a list of some of the places I've found so far. I put as many details in as I could gather, including the location or a map link, short descriptions, and website links, if available.

  • 18 Mile Creek, Angola, NY
    This spot has a little rougher terrain and doesn't have a trail, per se, beyond the curve in the creek.
  • Amherst State Park, Amherst, NY
    This is a great place to bird - especially in the spring and fall as warblers flock to this spot. Ellicott Creek runs through the park, there's an open orchard of fruit trees, and a back area with marsh and fields - all wonderful for attracting a wide variety of species. I've found many warblers, Belted Kingfishers, Great Blue Herons, Baltimore Orioles, fly catchers, and many more! Take care if you have a fear of dogs or are allergic to dogs as the dog walkers there don't pay any attention to the signs and dogs run amuck!
  • Batavia Waste Water Treatment Plant, Batavia, NY
    This is a great spot for water fowl. The many pools of water, especially on the lower end, are attractive to migrating birds. The plant is open from 7AM to 3PM every day. Sign-in at the office, then drive around slowly and carefully. It's a bit of a drive from Orchard Park, but it is well worth it.
  • Beaver Meadow, Java, NY
    Besides the very scenic location and lovely pond, Beaver Meadows has some nice hiking trails that take you around the pond, through meadows, and into mature evergreen forests. Listen for Barred Owls, Northern Waterthrush, and the buzzing calls of the Blue-winged Warbler. Other warblers nest here and you may be lucky enough to find a Mourning Warbler, Magnolia, or Chestnut-sided. Check out the pond too - bitterns and rails have been found there!
  • Bird Song, Orchard Park, NY
    Bird Song hosts a great variety of song birds - all tucked away behind an upscale development. It can be a bit "busy" with joggers, dog walkers, and even baby strollers. If you time it right, though, you may be treated with some nice sightings.
  • Braddock Bay, Greece, NY
    Braddock Bay is famous for the Hawk Watch, banding station, and Owl Woods that is close by. It's right on the south shore of Lake Ontario and is a major fly route for migratory birds.
  • Cazenovia Creek Nature Sanctuary
    This area is very, very small and is bordered by road and residences. I can only imagine how peaceful the setting is in the early morning, though, which I intend to check out one of these days!
  • Chestnut Ridge State Park, Orchard Park, NY
    This is a very large state park with mostly mature forest areas and trails. Many owls call this park home as well as the Scarlet Tanager, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Hooded Warbler. Forest trails are well marked and well worn - but stick to the trails; it's easy to get lost! Winter snow shoe activities go on here too!
  • Como Park, Cheektowaga, NY
    This is a busy park, full of families and folks just having fun. It's also the home of the Red-headed Woodpeckers I photographed. The park appears larger than what I've explored so I definitely intend to go back and hike it some more.
  • Conesus Lake Inlet, Conesus, NY
    There is a park at the north end of the lake, however, I found it much more interesting at the south end of the lake along the inlet. There are also some DEC areas to explore too. If you can find the inlet, there are some viewing platforms that overlook the marsh where you can see Bald Eagles and a nice mixture of shore birds.
  • Dunkirk Harbor, Dunkirk, NY
    This is another area that is a migratory route for all kinds of birds. Shorebirds stop along the beaches, gulls flock by the thousands, and ducks, cormorants, and herons can be found along the shores and in the harbor.
  • Emery State Park, South Wales, NY
    This is a nice, little park where families picnic and hike. There is skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling available in the winter.
  • Evangola State Park, Irving, NY
    I haven't given this park enough of a try. It's big and contains lots of places to explore. On our first morning hike at the state park, the birds along Evangola State Park Road were too numerous to count! We should have just stopped the car alongside the road and started birding right then and there! It's a very nice park that borders Lake Erie and also includes mature forest areas with nice hiking trails to explore.
  • Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY
    This was a surprise for me: a cemetery that birders flock to! However, it really is gorgeous here and, amid the memorials and headstones, there are beautiful trees, a pond, and then, around the back along the perimeter, a gorge with a creek that runs along the bottom. This gorge is an area you'll find lots and lots of warblers in the spring and fall!
  • Golden Hill State Park, Barker, NY
    This looks like a great place to bring the family and camp, hike, and enjoy some lakeside activities. For birders, it's a great spot for spotting migrating waterfowl.
  • Hamlin Beach, Hamlin, NY
    This looks like a great place to bring the family and enjoy some lakeside activities. For birders, it's a great spot for spotting migrating waterfowl as well as hiking along the many trails for other birds.
  • Inner & Outer Harbors, Buffalo, NY
    There is an inner harbor and an outer harbor along Buffalo's waterfront and marina - found from Fuhrman Blvd. Both are good viewing locations to look for sea gulls, jaegers, falcons, and other water birds.
  • Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge (INWR)
    This is probably the largest and most diverse place I've birded. It's located in the towns of Alabama and Shelby and is mid-way between Rochester and Buffalo, NY. Its great expanse covers acres and acres in both Genesee and Orleans counties. You'll find diverse habitats that include marshes, grasslands, and forested wetlands. There is a lot of state land where you can feel free to roam on the pathways. Be sure to stop at the Cayuga Overlook and check out the eagle nests if you visit!
  • Knox Farm, East Aurora, NY
    Knox Farm is more than just a farm. It has a beautiful field that Bobolinks and Meadowlarks love and come to nest in. There are lots of swallows, sparrows, and bluebirds to be found here too!
  • Lakeside Memorial Cemetery, Hamburg, NY
    Every time I bird at Lakeside Cemetery, I enjoy my time. Besides being a key spot for hawk watching from March through May, the cemetery hosts a nice wooded area that migrants and residents share at different times of the year. Look for the pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers nesting in a tall, dead tree next to the woods. Check the woods for wrens, towhees, thrushes, warblers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, woodpeckers, Wild Turkeys, and more!
  • Main Street Beach, Dunkirk, NY
    This beach is just about a quarter mile east of Dunkirk Harbor at Main Street and Lake Front Blvd. Shorebirds can be found here as well as all kinds of waterfowl.
  • Majors Park, East Aurora, NY
    I've been to Majors Park a few times now and I really enjoy the great variety of birds and different habitat I find there. This is a relatively new park in East Aurora and consists of around 40 acres of untouched marshland. There is a boardwalk area, swampland, and various trails and is definitely worth checking out.
  • Montezuma Wildlife Refuge
    Covering a broad expanse of over 7,000 acres, this refuge sits in the middle of one of the most active flight lanes in the Atlantic Flyway. It's located north of Cayuga Lake and is situated in 3 counties, providing rest, feeding, and nesting habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds.
  • Oatka Creek Park, Scottsville, NY
    This is a large park of 461 acres in Monroe County that runs along Oatka Creek. It contains nice, well-kept trails that run through a few different habitats: a creek, mature forest, and second-growth fields. Forest trails are color-coded and numbered. Note that their online map doesn't include the numbers. I advise that you print this map in color or, if that's not possible, mark it up with crayons or something to match the colors. Once you're on the trails, there are only colors available to let you know what trail you're on. The gates close at 3PM too, so plan accordingly!
  • Point Gratoit, Dunkirk, NY
    At the north end of the park, there's a nice, little wooded area with some paths running through it. This small park must be a strategically placed pathway for migrants. On any given day during spring migration, you can find a wide variety of birds.
  • Reinstein Woods, Cheektowaga, NY
    Reinstein Woods is a nice place for families to take short walks. There are several paths and more than one pond to be found there. I saw an Indigo Bunting, much to my surprise - and then later in the year, I was able to add Evening Grosbeaks to my life list when 4 females visited the preserve. The people there are very friendly and they host different nature events and walks throughout the year.
  • Sinking Ponds, East Aurora, NY
    Sinking Ponds is a small, little nature preserve with a sizeable pond. It's usually pretty quiet - except when the dog walkers come and let their dogs go unleashed, letting them chase the ducks into the pond! Other than that, it's a nice spot that attracts some interesting waterfowl and warblers in the spring and fall. Kingfishers have nested there and a Northern Shrike visited for a few weeks this past winter.
  • Spraguebrook State Park, Glenwood, NY
    Spraguebrook is not for the faint of heart! There are many hiking trails that will take you through some mature forest areas as well as some rough terrain. Be ready to get some exercise at this park!
  • Stiglmeier Park, Cheektowaga, NY
    Be sure to take a map with you at this park! It's much bigger than what I thought, which was very surprising being that it's located in Cheektowaga. Who knew?! There is a variety of habitats to be found here and warblers abound in the spring. A great park to bird in!
  • Three Sisters Islands, Niagara Falls, NY
    A tourist attraction in Niagara Falls, this location is quite beautiful. It provides some nice picnic areas where surrounding trees attract migrating warblers and the nearby river can host many species of gulls, terns, and ducks.
  • Tifft Nature Preserve, Lackawanna, NY
    Tifft Nature Preserve is a wonderful place that is surprisingly tucked between downtown Buffalo and Lake Erie. It is a well kept preserve with easy to navigate paths. This place also has a very friendly staff with many activities throughout the year for birders, young scientists, and nature lovers of all ages! You'll find a vast variety of waterfowl, warblers, and many other species at Tifft.
  • Tillman Road WMA, Clarence, NY
    This is another area that includes some diverse habitats: marsh and open grasslands as well as a trail that takes you through a wooded forest. Some unique birds like the Uploand Sandpiper, Grasshopper Sparrow, and Alder Flycatcher can be found here.
  • Woodlawn Beach, Hamburg, NY
    The beach area can be great if you're interested in viewing and identifying great numbers of gulls. Interesting shorebirds have been known to stop over here too. There is also a path that crosses a creek and then takes you up alongside the park around the creek. You can also enter more of the park from one of the streets off Woodlawn Ave.
  • Wright Park Beach, Dunkirk, NY
    This beach is about a mile east of Dunkirk Harbor at Serval Street and Wright Park Drive. Shorebirds can be found along here as well.
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