Lake County Birding Drive

Birding Drives are routes for birding trips which can be accomplished in one day, stopping to walk and bird at various eBird hotspots. For each birding drive, a Google map is provided with the route and suggested stops at eBird hotspots. You may save the link to the Google map on your smartphone or tablet, or print a copy on paper to take with you. Links are provided with information about each eBird hotspot. Follow those links for more information about birding each location.

Lake County Birding Drive
Click on the hotspot names below to view the page about that hotspot.

This Birding Drive explores eBird hotspots in Lake County. When you submit checklists here you help to add to the data about birds in this region of Ohio.

North Chagrin Reservation--Strawberry Lane Pond

Willoughby Hills, Ohio 44094

From the intersection of OH-91 and US-6, drive east on Chardon Road for 0.5 miles. Turn right onto Buttermilk Falls Parkway and go 0.8 miles. The parking area for Strawberry Lane Pond is on the right.

Since the 1920s, North Chagrin Reservation has been a special combination of outdoor recreation areas and wildlife sanctuaries. An interesting feature of the reservation is Squire’s Castle. Built at the turn of the century by F.B. Squire, it was to serve as the gatehouse of his country estate, but plans for the remainder of the estate never materialized.

Located in Mayfield Village, Willoughby Hills, and Gates Mills, the reservation includes a nature center and nature education building, a number of trails and picnic areas. Sanctuary Marsh and Sunset Pond are both popular areas to observe waterfowl. The reservation is also home to Manakiki Golf Course, located off SOM Center and Eddy roads in Willoughby Hills.

Woodland Park, Eastlake

35900 Woodland Drive Eastlake, Ohio 44095

Drive northeast on Buttermilk Falls Parkway for 0.8 miles. Turn left onto Chardon Road and go 0.5 miles. Turn right onto Som Center Road and drive 5.3 miles. Turn right onto Lakeshore Boulevard and go 0.8 miles. Turn right onto Woodland Drive and arrive at Woodland Park in 0.3 miles

Woodland Park is just to the west of Lake County’s metro park Chagrin River Park.

The park itself is mainly a playground and some ball fields. It also has views of the Chagrin River. Following the river south there is a path/ service road that runs along the river between a patch of trees. The river can be accessed from this path. South of the soccer and football fields is a small field adjacent to the river.

Also, the area to the south and west of the ball field area is woods. The woods have several different features. One is a stream that runs through it. Another area close to the park has a flooded area with some large cottonwoods and buttonbush growing in it. This area can be full of water or dry depending on the season and year. Also, there is a small more open patch of the woods that can attract more successional species.

In all this is a good area to visit when nearby and you do not have a lot of time. There is a lot of habitat diversity in a small area.

You can park at either the Woodland Road entrance or the entrance from Lakeshore Boulevard (this entrance is closed in winter). When arriving from Lakeshore Boulevard (41.665507,-81.428102) follow the entrance road after it makes a 45 degrees left turn you will see the main parking lot.

Chagrin River Park

3100 Reeves Road Willoughby, Ohio 44094

From Woodland Park, drive west on Woodland Drive for 0.3 miles. Make a slight left onto Lagoon Drive. Turn right onto Lakeshore Boulevard and go 0.2 miles.Turn right onto Reeves Road and drive 1.4 miles. Turn right into Chagrin River Park.

This 237-acre park is located in a suburban area with access to approximately 0.5 miles of the Chagrin River which Audubon Ohio has designated as an Important Bird Area. In addition, there are seasonal wetlands, second growth forests, managed grassland, and scrub fields which attract a variety of migrant and resident birds. The park is very accessible with approx. 3 miles of easy to walk trails.
Spring: An excellent variety of migrating warblers, sparrows, thrushes, and other songbirds, rails, and shorebirds.
Summer: Over 75 species of nesting birds includes yellow warblers, Baltimore and orchard orioles, spotted sandpiper, flycatchers, kingfishers and swallows, bobolinks, cuckoos, song and savannah sparrows, sora rail.

Penitentiary Glen Reservation

Kirtland Chardon Road Willoughby, Ohio 44094

From Chagrin River Park, turn right onto Reeves Road and go 0.1 mile. Turn right onto Lost National Road and go 0.4 miles. Turn left to stay on Lost Nation Road and go 0.3 miles. Lost Nation Road turns left and becomes Pelton Road for .6 mile. Turn right onto Kirtland Road and drive 1.6 miles. Turn right to stay on Kirtland Road for .5 mile. Turn left onto Chillicothe Road and go 0.2 miles. Turn right onto Kirtland Chardon Road and drive 2 miles. Arrive at Penitentiary Glen Reservation.

Penitentiary Glen Reservation features 424 acres of forest, fields, wetlands, and over 7.5 miles of hiking trails. The park is named for the deep gorge that divides it, which is easy to get into and difficult to get out of. Naturalists lead exciting programs year-round including nature-inspired events, programs, and classes. Picnic at the sheltered pavilion and listen to the sounds of nature.

In 1912, the Halle family, owners of the Halle Brothers Company in Cleveland, bought this property for their summer estate and working farm. The farm was managed by the Burnett family, who lived here year-round. The only remaining structure is the horse barn, which now houses the Nature Center. Wise use of the land has preserved this special area for today and the future.

Holden Arboretum--Garden and Collections

Kirtland, Ohio 44094

From Penitentiary Glen, drive southeast on Kirtland Chardon Road for 1.5 miles. Turn left onto Sperry Road and drive 1.4 miles. Turn left into Holden Arboretum.

At Holden, cultivated gardens come alive with color in the spring, cool forest trails offer a respite from the summer heat, woodlands are set ablaze with rich hues of fall, and paths lead you deep into the beauty of the winter woods.

Named as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society, with more than 20 miles of hiking trails, Holden is a haven for bird watchers as well hikers, gardeners and nature enthusiasts.

Covering 3,600 acres, The Holden Arboretum is among the largest arboreta in the United States. Documenting more than 120,000 plants, Holden’s horticultural focus is on a recognized collection of trees and shrubs, which are displayed in gardens accompanied by groundcovers and perennials, and in themed collections. We collect and display a diversity of plants and trees for evaluation and educational purposes, in order to convey sustainable plant choices recommended for our region. By sustainable, we mean plants that are adapted to our soils and climatic extremes, free from chronic diseases and significant pests, and non-invasive of natural areas. Plants include rhododendrons, magnolias, maples, conifers, nut trees, wildflowers, lilacs, and viburnums. A visitor center, reference library, and picnic area are on the grounds. Holden connects people with nature for inspiration and enjoyment, fosters learning and promotes conservation.

Girdled Road Reservation

North : 12840 Girdled Road South: 12926 Radcliffe Road Skok Meadow: 12415 Concord Hambden Road Painesville, Ohio 44077

From Holden Arboretum, turn left onto Sperry Road and go 0.3 miles. Turn right onto Mitchell Mills Road for 1 mile. Turn left on Wisner Road for 0.6 miles. Turn left onto Mentor Road for 0.5 miles. Turn right onto Griswold Road and drive 1 mile. Turn left onto Hermitage Road and go 0.7 miles. Turn right onto Girdled Road for 3.7 miles. Turn right onto Concord Hambden Road (OH-608 south) and drive 0.5 miles. Arrive at Skok Meadow.

Lake Metroparks provides a 1.17-mile loop pedestrian-only trail at Skok Meadow, located in its Girdled Road Reservation. Enjoy beautiful views of the meadow from one of the two observation decks at Skok Meadow.

Historically accessed from Radcliffe Road in the south and Girdled Road in the north, and now a separate entrance and parking lot to access the trail is located on Concord Hambden Road (Rt. 608). Skok Meadow is one of the park district’s most biologically diverse properties. Covered by a mosaic of woodland, meadow, and wetland, the park is home to a wide variety of plants and animals.

Hikers will enjoy the loop that features a pond and traces the meadow perimeter with views of changing fall colors along the Big Creek Valley. The trail is limestone/crushed gravel. To maintain the natural conditions of the trail and prevent ruts and damage, horses and bicycles are not permitted on the trails at Skok Meadow.