Eastlake Seawall (Eastlake Power Plant)

Eastlake Seawall
10 Erie Road
Eastlake, Ohio 44094

Also, see Chagrin River Corridor Important Bird Area

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Entire Year

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Breeding Season (Jun-Jul)
Fall Migration (Aug-Nov)
Winter (Dec – Feb)
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Lake County

Eastlake Seawall (Eastlake Power Plant)
Coordinates: 41.67447, -81.43982
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Tips for birding Eastlake Seawall
Warm water from the plant issues from between metal-armored piers 150 yards west of the parking lot and flows eastward into Lake Erie. Birds resort to it for feeding, bobbing in the water or wheeling. Even in the coldest winters, the warm water opens a lead in the ice that lies within easy view of the parking lot.

Other birds, nearly all gulls, usually stand atop the piers and can be studied. Birds in flight and in the water extend from the invisible inner reaches of the warm-water channel to the east, past a marina and the mouth of the Chagrin River several hundred yards away to the west.

Reached from either OH-2 or I-90, by taking the exit for OH-91 north. OH-91 ends OH-SR 283, the lakeshore highway, two miles north of OH-2. Turn right here. Shortly after passing the Avenue of 500 Flags on the right and going under a railroad bridge, turn left at the stoplight. This road heads north toward the lake. Do not enter the power plant itself, but curve around the plant property to the right, to end with Lake Erie in sight about a mile past the turn at the stoplight.

Open all year during daylight hours.

Park at the end of the road, by the lake. Sometimes the police cordon this area off in the winter when Lake Erie makes the area very icy. When this happens, park near the gate (but don’t block access through the gate) and walk into a large paved parking lot behind a low metal wall fronting on the lake.

Ice can be a problem. Winds from the north slam water into the metal wall, force it a dozen feet into the air, then carry it as far as the back of the parking lot during a good blow. In cold weather, this water can freeze several feet deep in the lot. The risk of getting wet under such conditions, or slipping on the ice, is ever-present. At times, local police close the area to access entirely.

A spotting scope is very helpful for observing perched or floating birds, but ill-suited for flying ones. The latter tend to edge away from observers approaching the metal wall, so other than to get a different angle looking east and west, there’s little point in standing right next to the water, especially if it’s windy. This is a good place for a lunch stop during a winter’s day of birding, for you can scrutinize thousands of birds at close range through the windshield while eating a sandwich. It is a great place to study the jizz and flight characteristics of gulls.
From Ohio Ornithological Society

The Eastlake Seawall is a stop on the Lake Erie Birding Trail.

The Eastlake power plant sometimes has open water in winter which attracts large numbers of gulls and waterfowl. Peregrine Falcons have nested on the stack.
From Haans Petruschke

Birds of Interest by Season
Winter
From November to March, “Eastlake,” as it’s known to birders, can provide a dizzying multitude of Lake Erie birds: gulls and waterfowl mostly, but its list of other birds, especially rarities, is a long one—terns, cormorants, jaegers, gannets, pelicans, loons and grebes, and raptors among them.
Spring
Early spring features the same birds as winter.
Fall
Late fall can feature the same birds as winter.

About Eastlake Seawall
Birders often refer to this site as the “Eastlake Power Plant” because of the large plant just to the west of the site. This site is just a parking lot of a little less than an acre, directly fronting Lake Erie. It provides an easy drive-up site to scan the lake, which in this area is often filled with birds.

The 0.9-acre Eastlake Seawall is at the northern terminus of Erie Road, which intersects OH-283 (Lake Shore Boulevard) about one mile to the south.

The Eastlake Seawall is 960 feet west of the Chagrin River mouth and adjacent to the east of First Energy Corp.’s Eastlake Power Plant. The plant’s warm water discharge into Lake Erie attracts fish and birds, especially during winter months when the rest of the lake freezes. Birds use the discharge area for feeding and bobbing in the water making this site a good winter bird watching location. Even in the coldest winters, the warm water opens a lead in the ice that lies within view of the seawall’s parking lot.

Parking areas on the seawall are toward the south while the north and east sides of the asphalt-covered bulkhead provide more than 500 feet of fishing access.

The majority of this site is paved impervious surface; however, a small amount of green space is located on the south side of the parking lot. A few picnic tables are located here beneath deciduous trees.

No restroom facilities.