Lorain, Ohio 44052
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Lorain Lakeshore Birding Drive
Into the fall and winter, the shoreline of Lake Erie becomes a very attractive place to birds. Influxes of usual and unusual migrants occur in waves as the winds carry them over the water to shelter on the shore. One of the most popular places to bird the lakefront in Lorain County is known as the “Lorain Impoundment.” Built up from sludge dumped from river dredging, it’s an unlikely-looking and unattractive place, but on a good day, dozens of bird species of many types can be found there. Birders have recorded 269 species altogether. It’s a rarity magnet. Most recently Brewer’s sparrow turned up; a first state record.
Only the satellite view on Google maps shows any land where the impoundment sits. To find it, use “Lakeside Landing” or “Mile Long Pier” in Lorain as the location. Access the dike by walking up a footpath from the parking lot and from there you can walk about a mile around the sheltered water of the impoundment. Look for ducks and waterfowl both in the impoundment and out on Lake Erie. Sparrows and blackbirds hug the scrubby grasses. Warblers, hawks, falcons—and even owls—collect in the few trees.
The Port Authority is currently implementing a plan to remove invasive phragmites and plant native species.
A small wetland area exists on the northwest corner outside of the diked impoundment, adjacent to the chain-link fence. This is a good place to look for shorebirds. Yellowlegs, dowitchers, dunlin, and willets have been seen in this area during spring. Beyond springtime, this spot becomes overgrown and difficult for viewing. In spring 2021 the Port Authority performed a controlled burn to reduce phragmites which exposed wet areas on the north and east sides of the impoundment and attracted some shorebirds and waders. The phragmites have since regrown, however. Scoping the rock break walls is a good idea as well. There is also a small sand beach as you enter the parking area which is worth checking.
Lorain Impoundment is a stop on the Lake Erie Birding Trail.
The 15-acre Lakeside Landing is located along Lakeside Avenue between Alabama and Colorado avenues in Lorain. It is adjacent to a commercial marina (west) and the Lorain Impoundment, a 58-acre, partially-filled confined disposal facility (CDF) to the north.
In 2010, 5.26 acres of the impoundment were transferred to the Lorain Port Authority to develop as part of Lakeside Landing. Improvements include a paved path leading to a southeast-facing observation platform and an expanded parking area. The rest of the impoundment remains available for the disposal of future dredge material and is not publicly accessible.
Lakeside Landing also features the nearly 2,300-foot long East Pier, offering sightseers and anglers access to Lorain Harbor and views of the Lorain West Breakwater Lighthouse. Brick pavers were installed atop the pier in 2011. Additional amenities include picnic shelters, grills, benches, and the East Side Launch Ramp.
The impoundment and harbor area are noted locations to spot rare gulls, waterfowl, and migrating songbirds.
Restrooms at Boat Ramp (during boating season) and Black River Landing (portable toilets).
Wheelchair accessible trail
Restrooms on site
Content from Diana Steele, Ohio Ornithological Society, Patty McKelvey, and Lake Erie Public Access Guide