eBird Bar Charts by Season
Tips for birding LaDue Reservoir from Valley Road
LaDue Reservoir is excellent birding year round but particularly well known for waterfowl and shorebirds from September through April. A spotting scope will make lake birding more enjoyable. Water level dictates abundance and variety of shorebirds. Most birding is done along Valley Road starting at the boathouse and going northeast another 1.2 miles. Parking on the gravel shoulders is allowed but watch for occasional cars and pickup trucks.
Start by exiting US-422 and go north about 1,000 feet to East Washington Street (stoplight at The Auburn Inn). Turn right (east) and follow the road straight ahead to the lake edge and boathouse. Small bays north and south of the boathouse hold waterfowl in season and the edge is excellent for spring and fall migrants, sparrows in the fall, and summer breeders that like old field habitat. The alders behind the boathouse attract redpolls and siskins in eruption years.
Back to Valley Road and turn right (northeast) and follow about .33 mile for a good view of the bay (north of the boathouse). This bay holds lots of waterfowl when the weather is windy. Across the road is a sheltered pond with good edge habitat. The field on the lake side holds Willow Flycatcher and other summer breeders.
Drive another 700 feet for a good view of the lake on the right and a pond with a wetland on the left. This pond holds ducks, egrets, and herons until freeze-up. Shorebirds can be found on the muddy edge when water is low. Check the large trees across the pond for Bald Eagles, Osprey, and Red-tailed Hawks.
Drive another 1,000 feet for a good view of the lake and another pond. The pines and spruces along the road are home to Pine Warblers. A hunters trail on the south side of the pond will take you back to the edge of the wetland. Flycatchers and Common Yellowthroat nest back there.
Drive another 500 feet for a third pond on the left and excellent lake view on the right. When the lake level is low in the fall, gravel bars are exposed. Gulls, Sandhill Cranes, terns, geese, shorebirds and other migrants have been known to rest on these bars. The pond across the road had its own character and attracts many birds along its edges including warblers, Northern Waterthrush, Carolina Wren, and others. The pines and spruces along the road also hold Pine Warblers.
The last stop is another .33 mile ahead and comes up quickly after a small rise in the road. Park close to the guard rail and watch traffic. This is the best view of the north end (dam end) of the lake and often holds the most waterfowl in fall and winter. It is 3,500 feet to the dam and 4,000 feet to the far shore (a favorite resting area for Sandhill Cranes in the fall). A decent scope will be a help here. There are trails at both ends of the guard rail on public land. Follow the south trail to the lake and you can see all the way from the dam to US-422. There is an active eagle nest on the other side of the dam in a large oak (left of the water control building). When water levels are low there is a beach exposed to the left of the spillway which attracts fall migrants like terns, Geese, and many kinds of ducks.
The only close place to eat is the Auburn Inn. Good food and coffee at moderate prices. Breakfast, burgers, and pub food are served.
From Matt Valencic
About LaDue Reservoir
LaDue Reservoir lies in southern Geauga County approximately 30 miles east of Cleveland, at the intersection of US-422 and OH-44. OH-44 lies along the west side of the reservoir and US-422 crosses the reservoir.
LaDue Reservoir was constructed in 1963 on a tributary of the Cuyahoga River to provide additional water supply to Akron. The Division of Wildlife began managing the fish populations in the reservoir in 1983, under an agreement with the city of Akron. The reservoir is situated in an area of glacial deposits characterized by numerous kames and small relict glacial lakes and ponds. Ground cover in the surrounding area includes marshy, wooded, and meadow areas. The lake bed retains the humps of the surrounding land. Aquatic vegetation is scarce and consists mainly of milfoil and curly pondweed.
Restrooms at locations identified on LaDue Reservoir map.