Cleveland Lakeshore East Birding Drive
Ohio Birding Drives are routes for birding trips which can be accomplished in one day, stopping to walk and bird at various eBird hotspots. For each birding drive, a Google map is provided with the route and suggested stops at eBird hotspots. You may save the link to the Google map on your smartphone or tablet, or print a copy on paper to take with you. Links are provided with information about each eBird hotspot. Follow those links for more information about birding each location.
Click on the hotspot names below to view the page about that hotspot.
This Birding Drive explores eBird hotspots in Cuyahoga County. When you submit checklists here you help to add to the data about birds in this region of Ohio.
Cleveland Harbor is west of the Cleveland Browns stadium in the Warehouse District at the end of West Ninth Street.
From the end of East 9th Street, drive south for .2 mile. Turn left onto Saint Clair Avenue and go .6 mile. Turn left onto East 9th Street and go .6 mile. Arrive at the East Ninth Street Pier.
The North Coast Harbor, East Ninth Street Pier, and Voinovich Bicentennial Park areas are east and north of Erieside Avenue, three-quarters of a mile east of the Cuyahoga River mouth in downtown Cleveland.
The public walkway surrounding these areas includes a more than a mile of constructed shore.
The L-shaped East Ninth Street Pier is adjacent to the east of North Coast Harbor at the northern terminus of East Ninth Street. Fishing and parking are permitted in designated areas on the handicap-accessible paved pier. The pier is also the docking/boarding site for the Goodtime III scenic boat charter.
This location affords picturesque views of the downtown skyline.
From the East Ninth Street Pier, drive south on East Ninth Street. turn left onto North Marginal Avenue.
Burke Airport occupies a stretch of the downtown Cleveland lakefront from roughly East 9th Street east to near East 55th Street. From the Memorial Shoreway (OH-2) exit at East 9th Street, proceed north to North Marginal Drive and turn right, or exit OH-2 at East 55th Street, proceed north to North Marginal and turn left.
As you proceed parallel to the airport runways, stop at the gates along the fence to view the grassy areas and pools of casual water for shorebirds, Horned Larks and American Pipits, and watch for flocks of Longspurs and Snow Buntings bouncing along the runways. Midway along North Marginal is a rise of land supporting a crossover to the Municipal Parking lot. From this elevated spot, scope the grassy spaces between the runways for shorebirds, Peregrine Falcons and Snowy Owls.
Cleveland Public Power
5251 North Marginal Road
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
From Burke Lakefront Airport, continue east on North Marginal Drive for .7 mile. Arrive at the Cleveland Public Power building.
There are a small parking lot and park area with views of Lake Erie at the Cleveland Public Power building.
Lakefront Reservation–East 55th Street Marina
Cleveland, Ohio 44102
From the Cleveland Public Power building, continue east on North Marginal Road for .5 mile. At East 55th Street turn left to stay on North Marginal Drive and go .2 mile. Arrive at the East 55th Street Marina.
The East 55th Street Marina is a unit of the Lakefront Reservation. Here you will find a marina, concession stand, picnic tables and a fishing pier. Scan the gulls loafing on the marina docks for rarities and look for interesting waterfowl in the protected marina lagoon as well as offshore. In winter, the marina docks and the offshore breakwall are good places to look for Snowy Owls.
From the East 55th Street Marina, return to East 55th Street on North Marginal Drive and continue straight onto East 55th Street. Turn left to merge onto I-90 and drive 1.2 miles. Take Exit 177 for Martin Luther King Junior Drive. Turn left onto Martin Luther King Junior Drive and go under the I-90 overpass. Turn left onto the frontage road. The Gordon Park parking area is on the right. Continue straight ahead and then turn right to reach the parking area for East 72nd Street.
East 72nd Street and Gordon Park, adjacent units of the Lakefront Reservation, provide lake access as well as some limited habitat for migrant passerines. The upper portion of Gordon Park, which houses a park ranger and watercraft licensing station, is an attractive place for nesting and wintering Mockingbirds. From the Memorial Shoreway, which has been joined by Interstate 90 east of downtown, exit at Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and proceed north. The East 72nd street and lower Gordon portions can be reached by turning west on the marginal road which parallels I-90. East 72 provides a good view of the lake including an intake channel for the nearby CEI plant that offers some sheltered water for waterfowl. Lower Gordon Park contains a marina, boat ramps, and a sheltered lagoon. Upper Gordon Park is reached by continuing north on Martin Luther King Boulevard until it turns right, becoming Lake Shore Blvd. Proceed east as the road curves and goes up a hill. Take the first left at the top of the hill and bear left into the park headquarters. Upper Gordon overlooks a former Army Corps of Engineers diked landfill, the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve. Check the landfill walls for Snowy Owl in winter and watch for Harriers, Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks. Check the pines near the headquarters building for migrant Pine Warbler, and walk the fence along the landfill for sparrows and thrushes.
Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve
Lake Shore Boulevard and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
Cleveland, Ohio 44103
From East 72nd Street, turn left onto the frontage road which passes Gordon Park. Turn left onto Martin Luther King Junior Drive. Martin Luther King Junior Drive turns slightly right and becomes Lakeshore Boulevard. In .3 mile turn left onto the access road for the Cleveland Metroparks parking lot. The entrance to the Cleveland Lakefront Nature preserve is behind the Metroparks office north of the parking lot.
Follow the wood chip trail from the parking lot to a high turnstile-type gate at the fence. This, in turn, provides access to a 1.75 mile Perimeter Loop Trail that travels west along the fence, heads north to overlook the lake and then loops back upon itself, passing through most of the habitat types in the preserve. The turnstile prevents access by bicycles and other wheeled vehicles; rules prohibit pets on the trail. Signs here and there credit the Port Authority and Cuyahoga County with the establishment of the preserve.
The 88-acre Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve, commonly known as Dike 14, offers a 1.75-mile Perimeter Loop Trail, and the .25-mile Monarch and .5 Northern Harrier Trails which bisect the preserve. It is adjacent to Gordon Park and accessed from the northern terminus of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.
The wild, green oasis in downtown Cleveland is 4.7 miles east of the mouth of the Cuyahoga River – a river to which the preserve traces its existence. Dike 14 was created in 1976 and used until 1999 to hold the spoils from dredging Cleveland’s harbor and the river.
The mud and silt have metamorphosed into a haven for plants, animals, and birds. Plants have colonized the preserve creating fields, wet meadows, shrub communities and stands of maturing trees. Wildlife including deer, fox, raccoons, and coyotes, along with dozens of species of butterflies, reptiles, amphibians and a host of other organisms call the preserve home.
The preserve is an important staging area for migrating birds with more than 290 different species recorded. In 2004, it was recognized as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. The same year, a grant from the Ohio Coastal Management Program funded, in part, a feasibility study for safe public access to the preserve.
From the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve, turn right onto Lakeshore Boulevard and go .3 mile. Curve to the left and join Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard. Turn left to merge onto I-90 and drive 5 miles on I-90. Take Exit 182A to merge onto East 185th Street and drive .6 mile. Turn left onto Marcella Road and go .5 mile. Make a slight left onto Lakeshore And go .2 mile. Turn right on the Park Road for Euclid Beach, Villa Angela, and Wildwood Park.
These contiguous sites form the Euclid Creek Reservation. The entrance to the Euclid Beach area will be on the left. This unit contains picnic tables, a concession stand and a swimming beach protected by small artificial islands, and is a good spot for gulls, shorebirds, waterfowl and migrant passerines. An asphalt bike trail proceeds east along the shore and connects this unit with the Villa Angela unit.
The Villa Angela unit, only recently added to the park, is still fairly wild with small stands of trees and bushes and some overgrown fields and is a good place to look for warblers, sparrows, thrushes and other passerines. The Villa Angela unit also provides a beach where gulls loaf and shorebirds can be found. Proceed east to the Wildwood unit, located across Euclid Creek from Villa Angela.
You can walk over the bridge from Villa Angela, or exit Euclid Beach and proceed east on Lake Shore Boulevard for about a quarter mile to the access road for Wildwood. Wildwood Park contains a marina and boat ramps, and a trail that follows the shore of Euclid Creek that is excellent for spring and fall migrants. Check the marina docks and walls for Snowy Owls.
23131 Lake Shore Boulevard
Euclid, Ohio 44123
From Wildwood Park, turn left onto Lakeshore Boulevard and drive 3.1 miles. Turn left into Sims Park and proceed to the parking area.
Sims Park is a municipal park maintained by the city of Euclid. It has playing fields, some trees, and clumps of bushes, a fishing pier, and a beach. It has been an excellent place for migrant passerines in the past, but recent “improvements” have eliminated some of the wildest parts of the park. Check the tall trees for Olive-sided flycatcher and scour the bushy areas for Connecticut Warbler. In late fall and winter, it is an excellent place to view offshore waterfowl and gulls. From Interstate 90 east of Cleveland, exit at Babbitt Road, proceed north to Lake Shore Blvd. and turn right. The park entrance will be on your left in less than a quarter of a mile. Watch for a sign indicating Kenneth L. Sims Memorial Park; the entrance is at the east end of the park. Moss Point is just to the west of Sims Park. Instead of turning right at Lake Shore Blvd. from Babbitt, proceed straight ahead and enter Euclid Park. Take the first road to the left and follow it as it winds north, ending at a parking lot for the Euclid city clubhouse. Walk the gravel path out to the bluff overlooking the lake at Moss Point and scan the waters for gulls and waterfowl, and check the beach below the bluff for shorebirds.