Together with Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and Stewart Park, Myers Point is one of the three best birding spots in the Cayuga Lake Basin. It offers birders a place to see a great variety of birds, often at close range, and it has also hosted a large number of Basin rarities. During the winter months, this is an excellent place to observe wintering waterfowl, especially diving ducks like Canvasback, Redhead, Greater Scaup and Lesser Scaup. Along with these birds and the ubiquitous Mallards, Canada Geese, and American Coot, one can usually find smaller numbers of Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Horned Grebe, and Pied-billed Grebe, as well as the occasional dabbling duck (such as Northern Pintail and Gadwall). In early 1999, Myers also played host to one of the most exciting finds in the Cayuga Lake Basin in many years--a female King Eider. This bird was first seen from Ladoga Park, a public viewing point located just south of Myers Point. This spot provides viewing of the bay south of Myers Point, where large numbers of waterfowl often accumulate.
The Spit at Myers Point.
Another major vantage point at Myers is "The Spit," a sandbar found where Salmon Creek empties into Cayuga Lake. This spot, located in the Town of Lansing park at Myers, serves as a roosting place for Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, and Great Black-backed Gull during the winter months. Regular checking of this gull roost in winter could turn up an Iceland Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, or Glaucous Gull.
During the months of March and April, Myers is a great place to see just about any species of waterbird. All of the above species are regularly seen, along with Common Loon, Wood Duck, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser (which breeds in the area), and Red-breasted Merganser. April and May are the months to see migrating gulls and terns at Myers. Check The Spit for resting Caspian Tern, Common Tern, and Forster's Terns, as well as Bonaparte's Gulls, and scan out over the water for these birds as they head north up the lake.
One of the major attractions of Myers during the late spring, summer, and fall is the ability to see a variety of shorebird species along The Spit. There is no better place in the Basin to study shorebirds at close range. The whole spit can be easily viewed with binoculars, making a spotting scope optional. If you proceed with caution out onto The Spit, you can sometimes have shorebirds running past you just a few feet away. Myers is probably the best spot in the Basin to see Ruddy Turnstone and Sanderling (two uncommon spring migrants) during late May and early June, and it also serves as a stopping point for more common species like Least Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Dunlin, Black-bellied Plover and Semipalmated Plover. Killdeer and Spotted Sandpiper are both resident at Myers over the summer, and can be joined by southbound shorebirds as early as late June or early July. Almost every regular species of Basin shorebird has been seen at Myers at one point in time, and The Spit has also hosted a number of shorebird rarities, including American Avocet (one in June 1998 and two in August 1998), Whimbrel (May 2000 and May 2004), Piping Plover (September 2001), Purple Sandpiper (May 2002 and two in November 2002), Marbled Godwit (May 2002), Western Sandpiper (June 2003 and May 2004), and Willet (June 2003). Other recent rarities found at Myers include: Franklin's Gull (November 1997 and May 2003), Little Gull (August 1998), Greater White-fronted Goose (February 2001), Barrow's Goldeneye (January to March 2004), and the Basin's first-ever Black Guillemot (October 2004).
Myers is not especially well known for its songbirds, but the state-owned Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) land located just north of Salmon Creek does provide habitat for some summer nesters. Baltimore Oriole, Yellow Warbler, and Warbling Vireo are all common nesters found in the area. This Myers North land is also one of the better sites in the Basin to catch a glimpse of Orchard Oriole, a much rarer and less conspicuous bird than its larger relative. Carolina Wren is a year-round resident at Myers, and can sometimes be seen or heard (although not regularly) on the DEC land. Belted Kingfisher, while also present at Myers throughout the year, is much easier to observe during the summertime, especially along Salmon Creek. One final highlight of summer birding at Myers is the presence of multiple species of swallows flying around the area, and occasionally landing on The Spit for a short time. Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Bank Swallow, and Northern Rough-winged Swallow are the most commonly seen species, but there is also a decent chance of spotting a Purple Martin overhead if you play a game of hoops on the basketball court by the spit.
As in the springtime, Myers is an excellent place to witness waterfowl migration in the fall. Birds seem to start moving in October and can still be seen migrating south into December. All of the species mentioned above can be seen again at Myers in the fall, and the point also is a great spot to scan for scoters and Brant heading down the lake. Finally, Myers can be a great place to get an up-close look at Snow Bunting during late October and November. Although most birders associate this bird with wind-swept, manure-covered fields in winter, this species can be found along large bodies of water during migration. A thorough check of The Spit at the right time of year could yield great, odor-free looks at a beautiful bunting.
To reach Myers Point:
From Stewart Park in Ithaca, take East Shore Drive (Rt. 34) north until you reach a traffic light in South Lansing. Turn left onto Rt. 34B, proceed downhill, past the Lansing schools on your right, and look for Myers Road on your left. Turn left on Myers. Within a mile, you will come to a stop sign and railroad tracks. Continue straight ahead over the railroad tracks to visit the marina or Myers/Lansing Park, home of The Spit. To reach Ladoga Park, turn left at the stop sign, proceed for a short distance, and then turn right onto Ladoga Park, which will take you right to the lake edge. Finally, to reach the DEC land on the north side of Salmon Creek, turn right at the stop sign, pass over the creek, and turn left onto a dirt road that continues out to the lake.