Birding Monroe County

Corey HusicBirding, General News and Info, Site Guide2 Comments

Turkey Hill/Cherry Valley Pond

Monroe County is situated in the eastern part of Pennsylvania, and although there are many rural and natural places left in the county, it is also the second fastest-growing county (in terms of human population) in the state. While there are a lot of people, there are very few who seem to avidly bird the area, including the two major conservation areas, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge. So far this year, only 11 birders have submitted checklists to eBird, which is very low compared to the 43 eBirders in nearby Lehigh County.

Earlier this year, I challenged myself to do a semi-serious Monroe County big year. There will definitely be times in 2012 when I will not be able to get out, but I hope to find some good birds and some new good birding spots. Since January 1, I have been looking for any open water to add some waterfowl to my list, which seem to be difficult to find in this county. Here are a few waterfowl spots I have found that are likely to become even more active as we hit duck migration!

Weir Lake

Weir Lake is a small, fairly developed lake right next to Route 209 near the towns of Gilbert and Brodheadsville. Even during the coldest winters, some of the lake tends to stay open. There are always Canada Geese here, often numbering in the hundreds. Numerous duck species can be found here, although the occurrence of different species can be sporadic. I have occasionally stopped at the lake two days in a row and have found completely different species each day! In the winter months, the usual inhabitants of Weir Lake include Canada Geese, Mallards, Hooded Mergansers, Ring-billed Gulls, Herring Gulls, and Belted Kingfishers. On several occasions I have seen several Wood Ducks, American Black Ducks, and Ring-necked Ducks mixed in with the more common species. Rarely something unusual shows up, such as Snow Goose, Lesser Scaup, Redhead, and American Coot. During the summer, some Canada Geese and Mallards stay, and are occasionally joined by Double-crested Cormorants.

Weir Lake

Weir Lake — An excellent stop on the Wild Creek-Little Gap Christmas Bird Count

Lake Mineola

This small lake is about five minutes away from Weir Lake. I just recently discovered this little body of water, so I have not had much time to bird it. I have seen Ring-necked Ducks here.

Saylor’s Lake

Saylor’s Lake is a medium-sized lake that is bordered by private property and houses on most sides. There is a parking lot to an out-of-business restaurant that allows good a good view of the lake. Although I have never seen anything particularly unusual here, there is always a large group of Common Mergansers (100+). Several birders have also seen Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the lake. I am sure that other waterfowl species use this lake in migration, but I have never birded it during those months.

Saylor's Lake

Saylor’s Lake

Pond at Intersection of Turkey Hill and Cherry Valley Roads

Stephen Kloiber told me about this pond earlier this year. He had seen a Gadwall and an American Wigeon hanging out with a small group of Mallard and Canada Geese. Situated in the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge, I was interested in this little pond, as I had never really birded in this NWR in my home county! I’ve checked this pond several times this year and so far the two unusual ducks have been present, often with Mallards and a Wood Duck! This pond goes to show how a small farm pond can attract interesting species. There are hundreds of small ponds like this throughout southern Monroe County, so I am sure there are other great duck locations elsewhere in the county.

Turkey Hill/Cherry Valley Pond

far end of the pond

 

Turkey Hill/Cherry Valley Pond

near side of pond

All of the above-mentioned locations are on this map:

View Monroe Birding Spots map.

  • Looks like you have a bunch of little spots to check out, some of the better areas around State College are little ponds that attract random waterfowl during migration and the winter.

  • brenda1183

    good luck on your Monroe County birding project, Corey. 

    We are birders from upper Bucks County, I came to your website looking for detailed information on spring warbler & songbird migration through the Delaware Water Gap lands on the PA side.  If you could spare a bit of time to let me know where to go and especially when to go there for good spring birding we would appreciate it. 

    Thanks for the Cherry Valley NWR reference, we didn’t know about that.  What an exciting new development, and well within our range for a day trip. 

    Great website.  Good birding to you ::)