Sweedler Preserve at Lick Brook

The Sweedler Preserve at Lick Brook offers fine spring and summer birding amid some of the area’s most spectacular scenery.  It rises steeply from the floor of the Cayuga Inlet along Lick Brook and Spring Brook past two stunning waterfalls, through deep hemlock woods. 

Starting in late April into early June, the song of Louisiana Waterthrush peals over the rushing waters of Lick Brook.  With patience and a little luck, birders may be rewarded also with views of the species, constantly bobbing its tail under eroded overhanging banks or on low hemlock branches. In the woods on the slope, one may also find breeding Blue-headed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, and Black-throated Green Warbler, among others. Just outside the preserve boundary, the cool shadows of the woods give way to brightly sunlit cleared land by the railroad tracks and the Inlet.& Look here for numerous Indigo Buntings and Baltimore Orioles, while also staying aware of the possibility of Cerulean Warbler or even Yellow-breasted Chat. Orchard Orioles may congregate in the same area in July and early August.

The preserve is located at the southwestern corner of the Town of Ithaca. From Sandbank Road, turn onto Town Line Road and park along the road near the Finger Lakes Land Trust sign marking the trailhead. It is also possible to reach the preserve by parking at the DEC fishing access to the inlet near the intersections of Routes 13, 34, and 96, then crossing the Inlet and walking northeast along the base of the slope. Note that the trails in the Sweedler Preserve are very steep; climbing from the bottom all the way; to the top requires considerable fitness.

- Mark Chao, January 2012

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