Roy H. Park Preserve, Baldwin Tract
This site is often referred to as "The Prairie Warbler Spot," because it is one of the few places in the Cayuga Lake Basin that is known to host this species. Despite their name, Prairie Warblers actually breed in brushy, early successional habitats, and for at least the past ten years, this preserve, with a large planting of young spruces and red pines, has provided perfect habitat. As these conifers continue to mature, though, the habitat will eventually become unsuitable, and "The Prairie Warbler Spot" will no longer contain its namesake species. In the meantime, the Baldwin Preserve is an excellent spot for seeing not just Prairie Warbler, but a number of other shrubland birds, including Field Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, Blue-winged Warbler, and Eastern Towhee. And, because of the presence of a large number of spruces, it also provides breeding habitat for Magnolia Warbler, a species more typically seen in boreal spruce/fir forest to our north.
The Baldwin Preserve is best known for its Prairie Warblers, but it is also home to a stretch of beautiful forest running along Six Mile Creek. To reach the creek, proceed along a mowed path through the pine/spruce plantation until coming to forest edge. The forest is deciduous at first, but then becomes dominated almost entirely by hemlocks as one descends to the creek. This cool shady forest is home to breeding Blue-headed Vireo, Winter Wren, Canada Warbler, Dark-eyed Junco, and, right along the stream, Louisiana Waterthrush. While walking from the forest back to the parking lot, keep an ear and an eye open for Common Raven, as this site is a good one for spotting a flyover raven or two. To reach the Baldwin Preserve: This preserve is located in the Town of Dryden, on Irish Settlement Road, just before the intersection with Mineah and Hurd Roads (where Irish Settlement becomes Midline Road). From its intersection with Rt. 13, take Irish Settlement Road just over five miles (passing Beam Hill Road and Hammond Hill Road in the process). After passing Goodband Road on your right, look for an area on your left with a large number of conifers (red pines and some type of spruce). This is the Baldwin Preserve. There is room on the left side of the road to pull completely off the road and park.