Throughout May, I’ll be conducting the 10th annual Spring Bird Quest (SBQ)
on preserves of the Finger Lakes Land Trust throughout our region.  The SBQ
has three purposes:  


* To give birders of all skill levels an opportunity to come together and
enjoy birds at some of the finest spots in our area, at the best time of

* To spread the word the Land Trust’s role in preserving vital habitat for
the birds we love

* To raise funds to support the Land Trust’s continuing work.


In the past, we’ve held the event only on Memorial Day weekend, but this
year, we will have SBQ activities on all five weekends in the month.  There
will be no fewer than eight public walks, including several at beautiful
sites that we Ithaca birders almost never think to visit.  See below for the
schedule.  (Some sites are far from Ithaca.  I can offer rides from
northeast Ithaca for up to three people.  Contact me if you’re interested.)


All the walks are free; donations on the spot are most welcome but not at
all required.  Moreover, I’ll be counting bird species found at the
preserves over the month and raising pledge money per species.  Proceeds
from the first nine SBQs have exceeded $35,000.  I have a crazy hope of
raising $10,000 for the 10th SBQ, from at least 100 donors.  In support of
this goal, a supporter of the SBQ and the Land Trust has pledged $10 per
donor up to 100 donors.  Can you help us to achieve these goals?


If you’re interested in pledging, please contact me.  You may also donate a
flat amount online at  And it would be
fantastic some of you might do your own species count and raise your own
pledges.  Let me know if you’re interested.


I look forward to seeing many of you out on the walks next month!


Mark Chao



Saturday, May 2 (Rain date May 3)

8:00 AM

Wesley Hill Nature Preserve 

Come and visit the mature forests of Wesley Hill, our westernmost preserve,
home to Briggs Gully and sweeping views of the hills surrounding Honeoye
Lake’s southern end. Directions: From Honeoye, take Rt. 20A east to East
Lake Road. Follow East Lake Rd. south for a short distance and then turn
left on County Rd. 33. Continue a short distance and turn right on Pinewood
Hill Rd. Follow Pinewood Hill, then Gulick Road south toward Cumming Nature
Center, for a total of 6.4 miles to preserve entrance, on right.


(This preserve is about 1 hour and 50 minutes from Ithaca.)


Saturday, May 9 (Rain date May 10)

8:00 AM

Bahar Nature Preserve and Carpenter Falls at 8:00 am 

This preserve includes a forested ravine alongside Bear Swamp Creek as well
as 65 feet of Skaneateles lakeshore.  After this walk, head over to the High
Vista Preserve for more birding!  Directions: From Route 38 in Moravia, take
Route 38A north for about 6.9 miles.  Turn right onto Burdock Street, and
continue for one mile after Burdock turns into New Hope Road.  Turn left
onto Rt. 41A north, then right (east) on Appletree Point Rd. and follow for
1.6 miles to parking area, on left.


Saturday, May 9 (Rain date May 10)

10:30 AM

High Vista Preserve 

Join us for a walk high above the eastern shore of Skaneateles Lake at this
diverse hillside forest full of songbirds. Directions: From Bahar Nature
Preserve & Carpenter Falls, head southeast on Carver Rd. toward Glen Cove
Rd., then turn left on N. Glen Haven Rd. After 5 miles, turn right onto Glen
Haven Rd./E. Lake Rd., then turn left onto Vincent Hill Rd.  The parking
area will be on the left.


>From Rt. 41 south of Skaneateles, turn onto Vincent Hill Road West, just
north of the Cortland/Onondaga County line. After about 1/3 mile, the road
bends to the southwest and there is a small parking area on the right-hand


Saturday, May 16

8:00 am

VanRiper Conservation Area and Whitlock Nature Preserve, Romulus

Bird walk led by the Eaton Birding Society 

I’ll plan to join the Eaton Birding Society on this walk through the woods
to the lake shore.  Directions from the South: The preserves are
approximately 23 miles north of Ithaca; 2.6 miles north of County Rt. 138;
and 2 miles north of the Thirsty Owl winery.  The gravel parking area is on
the right side of Rt. 89.  


Saturday, May 23

8:00 AM

Dorothy McIlroy Bird Sanctuary, Summerhill

This preserve contains deep hemlock woods, some sunny edges, and a fen.
Directions:  From Main Street in Groton, turn east on Route 222 (E. Cortland
Street).  After 2.2 miles, turn left onto Salt Road.  Turn left onto Salt
Road, then right on Route 90 to Lake Como Rd. Turn left on Lake Como Rd. and
continue for about 2 miles until you come to Fire Lane A. Make a right onto
lane to find the parking area on the right.


Sunday, May 24

8:00 AM

Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve, West Danby

This preserve, perhaps the Land Trust spot most renowned for birds,
comprises open fields, a large pond, forests, and various edge habitats.
>From Ithaca, take Rt. 13 south to junction with Rt. 34/96. Continue south on
34/96 to hamlet of West Danby. Preserve entrance is on left, ½ mile past
Sylvan Drive.


Monday, May 25

6:30 AM

Goetchius Wetland Preserve, Caroline

A short early-morning bird walk along both a grassy field and wetlands.
Directions: From Ithaca, take Rt. 79 east approximately 11 miles and turn
left on Flat Iron Rd. Continue up the road approx. 0.5 mile to parking area
on left.


Monday, May 25

8:30 AM

Roy H. Park Preserve (south), Dryden

Open early successional forest favored by Prairie Warblers, plus a walk into
hemlock woods and a shaded gorge.  Directions: From Ithaca, take Rt. 13
north to Irish Settlement Rd. Turn right and continue 1.5 miles past Hammond
Hill Rd. to the south parking area. The preserve parking area is on the left
just past the southern end of Goodband Rd. 


Saturday, May 30 (Rain date May 31)

8:00 AM

Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve, Dryden

Join us on the last bird quest at this majestic fern-carpeted forest, home
to diverse plant and wildlife species located just minutes from downtown
Ithaca. Directions: From Ithaca, follow Ellis Hollow Road 2.5 miles past
East Hill Shopping Plaza. Turn left on Genung Road, then right on Ellis
Hollow Creek Road. Preserve entrance is located 0.2 miles past intersection,
on left side of road.



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