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Birding Sites in the Finger Lakes


Canandaigua Lake

Coordinates: 42.392862°N 76.213239°W

Google Earth View


Habitat: Like any lake of decent size, Canandaigua Lake attracts birds. However, the southern end of the lake is unusual and perhaps even unique as a birding site in the Finger Lakes region. Here you will find a maze of tiny islands of cattails, trees, and bushes.


Seasons: This section of the lake is best during spring and early summer. By late summer it is almost devoid of birds. Look for bitterns, red-winged blackbirds, marsh wrens, and possibly swamp sparrows as you get closer to the confluence of the lake with the West River. You may also find Canada geese, mallards and other ducks, mergansers, grebes, and other waterfowl depending on how early in the season you are there. Flying over, you are likely to see osprey and a variety of gulls. You may also see bald eagles.



1. This is a very specific habitat that won't produceThe last launch site on the West River before it enters Canandaigua Lake. large numbers of species but may produce some birds you don't see too often.


2. The later in the season you go, the taller and thicker the vegetation. It truly is a maze. You may want to use a GPS so you don't get lost or confused.


3. The water at this end of the lake is shallow--only about 2 ft./60 cm. at the most. As the season progresses and vegetation in the water grows, you must paddle through it. It's like paddling through a thick soup.


Access: There are only two ways to access this site, and they are both via water. (Canoes and kayaks only.) Coming from the south, you will enter via the West River, the inlet to the lake. From the north, you will enter via the lake. As the season progresses and the vegetation grows, it can be hard to find the entrance from the north. It will appear to be a thick wall of cattails. Information about launch sites into the West River and Canandaigua Lake


Nearby Birding Sites:

High Tor Fish and Wildlife Management Area

West River


Created 30 September 2010








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