Birding Hot Spots

Below is a list of locations in both Lycoming and Clinton Counties that are both easily accessible and offer good birding potential.

Lycoming County

Rose Valley Lake
Rose Valley Lake is a 389-acre reservoir owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and managed by the Fish and Boat Commission for public fishing and boating. Rose Valley Lake may offer the best variety of birding in Lycoming County. Everything from Bald Eagles and Osprey to Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers and Willow Flycatchers. Spring and fall migration are excellent times of the year to catch waterfowl migration.  When the lake thaws (usually late in March) many species of ducks, loons, grebes, and geese are there. April and May bring waves of warblers and other neo-tropical migrants which can be best viewed from the south boat launch area and Trimble Road. The north boat launch area also provides a nice mix of habitats for a wide variety of species.

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Directions from Williamsport: Rt. 15 North to Trout Run. Take Trout Run Mountain. Road to the top of the mountain. Go left on Rose Valley Road and go right onto Trimble Road. Follow the signs to the south boat launch.

Mill Street in Montoursville
Mill Street has been known for many years to local birders as a great place to find spring migrants. Mill Street is a gated (Oct 1st to March 31st) road that parallels the Loyalsock Creek. We recommend you park at the very end of the street where there is a small parking area and picnic ground. The Susquehanna River and the Loyalsock Creek meet here. An excellent mix of migrants can be found through the month of May. Walk back toward the Lycoming Regional Airport where many swallows congregate.  Lycoming Audubon Society member Fred Stiner found a vagrant Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher along the Loyalsock Creek in 2003.

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White Deer Ridge (Skyline Drive)
White Deer Ridge is an excellent place to witness the spring raptor migration. From late winter on, you can view hawks, eagles, and waterfowl both to the south and north of the lookout. Golden Eagles are the highlight here and can be found on southerly winds from late February through March.

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Picture of White Deer Ridge



Directions from South Williamsport: Take Rt. 554 (Sulphur Springs Rd.) south from Route 15 south to the top of Bald Eagle Mountain where Skyline Drive is gated. Walk approximately ¼ mile to the east where the power line right of way crosses the mountain. Viewing is best from the clearing to the south of the road.

Muncy Heritage Park
This site along the Susquehanna River, has open fields, ponds, waterways and a wooded area, so it's a good birding destination in any season. Take one of two easy walks: a short path to the River's edge (you'll see a river bridge, an old abandoned bridge abutment, and grassy areas) where you may observe swallows, shorebirds, waterfowl, especially mergansers, and maybe even a Bald Eagle or Osprey; or cross the road past the dig site toward the ponds to look for warblers, waxwings, bluebirds, nesting raptors and other birds that are fond of mudflats.

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Directions from Williamsport: I-180 east to Exit 13-A. Turn right onto Rt. 405. At the traffic light, turn left and travel about a mile to Pepper Street. Turn right onto Pepper Street and proceed 2 miles to the Canal Site along the Susquehanna River.

Rider Park
This 867 acre mountaintop county park is located adjoining a unit of the Loyalsock State Forest just northeast of the village of Warrensville. Well maintained trails meander throughout the park offering visitors plenty of deep forest habitat, outstanding vistas of the Loyalsock Creek valley and pleasant meadows and fields to traverse. It is a four-season park. Skis or snow shoes may be helpful in the dead of winter. The park is home to almost every critter that calls PA’s woodlands home and the birdlife is similarly diverse. Migrating warblers and other songbirds are everywhere in the late spring & early summer and early fall and resident forest and field birds are plentiful year-round. Rider Park maintains bird-feeding stations over the winter, attracting birds for visitors' viewing pleasure. The Lycoming Audubon Society maintains an extensive bluebird trail which hosts numerous Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows in early summer.

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Susquehanna River Walk and Timber Trail
This asphalt loop trail on both sides of the Susquehanna River in the city of Williamsport and South Williamsport Borough is a popular destination. During all three temperate seasons numerous waterfowl are common visitors to the river and various songbirds make use of the trees and brush lining the river. Magnificent raptors such as Bald Eagle, Osprey, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Coopers Hawk and others travel the river corridor and perch along it, affording birders excellent views. Peregrine Falcons nested on the Market Street Bridge in 2013, and a pair of Bald Eagles are nesting just upstream from the River Walk in 2014.

In the late winter and early spring period huge numbers of waterfowl, terns, gulls and other birds use the river as a travel corridor for their migration. What could be more convenient than this natural corridor running between the city and the borough, teeming with birdlife much of the year!

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Glacier Pools Preserve
This Preserve is a 270-acre private property located in eastern Lycoming County just northwest of Picture Rocks. The Gross family welcomes visitors to their property which has been preserved from development by a conservation easement with the Merrill Linn Conservancy. Public access is sponsored by the East Lycoming Recreation Authority. The land is described as “an island of mature woods, wildflower meadows and vernal (glacial) pools…” The property is all of that, from its unique geology and dramatic vernal pools to the beautiful woodlands, grassy fields and outstanding views of the surrounding countryside. Penns woods wildlife abounds and the birdlife is all that you would expect from such a property set in an extremely rural area and maintained in a natural state. On a brisk morning, spring through fall, the parking area alone has enough birdlife around to hold your attention for quite some time. It's a destination well worth the half-hour’s drive from Williamsport!

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Route 15 Overlook
This overlook is a comfortable fall hawk watching location with ample parking, handicapped accessibility, shade, and picnic tables. The overlook is located along Route 15 as it cuts through Bald Eagle Mountain near South Williamsport and faces north looking out over the Williamsport Regional Airport and borough of Montoursville. It is accessible from the northbound lane of Route 15. If heading southbound go one mile past the overlook and there is a turning lane that goes off to the right to get back on northbound. It . There are no bathroom facilities but it is mere minutes from McDonald's and other South Williamsport businesses.

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Lime Bluff Recreation Area
This park near Hughesville has a great variety of habitat for songbirds. Habitat includes grassy areas, farm fields, forest edge, swampy areas, a small pond, and a Christmas tree farm. DIRECTIONS: From Rt 405 in Hughesville turn west onto Elm Drive (near McDonald’s). Drive a half mile then turn left into the park entrance and follow the road to the parking areas.

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Williamsport Water Authority
This property in the Mosquito Valley has public trails for hiking and mountain biking. The habitat is mostly forested with some openings and two water areas near the parking lot that sometimes get shorebirds. From Duboistown, head south on Valley St. for a half mile then turn left onto Mosquito Valley Road. Stay left across the one lane bridge, follow Mosquito Valley Road all the way to the end, and park in the visitor parking lot on the left. Visitors must sign in at the information sign.

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Canfield Island and Riverfront Park
This park has forested areas surrounding a large oval walking path with a large grassy area in the middle and is right along the Susquehanna River.
From E 3rd Street take Old Montoursville Road near the Super 8 in Loyalsock. AFter crossing two sets of train tracks follow the road to the road as it becomes Greevey Rd. The park is a quarter mile ahead on the left.

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SGL 252
The northern part of this large game lands is in Lycoming County and includes forested areas, fields, and large ponds. Multiple parking areas are available along Ridge Rd, including one near Mt Zion Church. Another good access is at the end of Pikes Peak Rd (which is off of Alvira Rd). This is a game lands so be aware of hunting and bears.

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Lycoming County Farm Conservation Trail
This trail is located at the Lycoming County Conservation District offices off 2140 Warrensville Road (behind Valley View) in Loyalsock and goes through a small wetland, ascends quickly to mature hardwood forest, has a Loyalsock Creek over-look and provides a magnificent distance view of the Susquehanna valley and its backdrop mountain range.

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Algerine Swamp
Take 414 to Gamble Run Rd in northwestern Lycoming County. This area is boreal forest at its finest and is one of the most reliable spots in the state to get Red-breasted Nuthatch year-round.

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SGL 75 Larson Tract
This is a remote wetlands area that was developed off of Truman Run Rd and Larson Ln. It has very rarely been birded but has very good potential for rarities.

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Clinton County

1.     Ohl/McElhattan Reservoir
Ohl Reservoir, also known as McElhattan Reservoir, is a 100 acre artificially impounded lake which supplies water to Lock Haven. The reservoir and surrounding area are accessible on foot.  The trail to the reservoir goes through diverse habitat – fields, woods, and brushy areas. The lake is good for many varieties of waterfowl during spring and fall migration. Bald Eagles and Ospreys as well as other raptors are frequently seen around the lake. The wooded and brushy areas are good for warblers, neo-tropical species, vireos, woodpeckers, sparrows, and thrushes. Bobolinks and Meadowlarks have been found in the grassy area and Blue Birds and Tree Swallows nest in the boxes along the trail. In winter the area is good for nuthatches, kinglets, Brown Creeper, woodpeckers and usual winter birds.

Directions: Take Pine-Loganton Road from McElhattan Drive/Pine Mountain Road in McElhattan. Continue for 17 miles on Pine-Loganton Road to Stover Cross Drive. This drive is gated with space to park several cars outside the gate. From the gate follow the trail on foot to the reservoir.

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2.     Mill Hall Wetlands
The Mill Hall Wetlands is a manmade remediation wetland consisting of three ponds and vegetation consistent with wetlands. Access is by foot only and waterproof boots are recommended.  This area is excellent for waterfowl and shorebirds during spring and fall migration, for rarities such as American Bittern, Virginia Rail, and Sora in spring and for warblers and flycatchers in spring and rare sparrows in fall. Raptors are often seen over the area.

Directions: Drive on 150 S in Mill Hall to Lusk Run Road. Turn right onto Lusk Run Road and drive to Bald Eagle Township Authority building on the right. Park in the lot by the recycling area and access the wetland on foot through the field adjacent to the parking.

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3.     Central Mountain High School Wetlands
The Central Mountain High School Wetlands is located on the high school property and consists of several small ponds and wetland vegetation. This area is best during spring and fall shorebird and waterfowl migration. Rarities such as American Bittern, Least Bittern, Willet, Sora, Glossy Ibis, and Black-bellied Whistling Duck have been found.

Directions: Drive on 150 S in Mill Hall to Lusk Run Road. Turn right onto Lusk Run Road and drive to Central Mountain High School on the left. Use the entrance for the school which is on the left after you pass Keystone Central Drive.  Park in the visitors’ slots and walk around the wetlands and/or use the pavilion to view the ponds.

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4.     McElhattan Bridge
The McElhattan Bridge over the Susquehanna River in McElhattan is noted as the successful nesting site of Peregrine Falcons for three years and they are occasionally seen near the bridge.  The area around the McElhattan Bridge is known for waterfowl and shorebirds during spring and fall migration. The roads on either side of the river (River Road and McKinney Road) can be birded by car and it is along these roads that the waterfowl can best be seen.  In addition, the Bald Eagle Valley Trail which can be accessed by foot or bicycle runs along the river by the bridge and this area is good for a variety of swallow species, warblers, vireos, thrushes, flycatchers, and woodpeckers.

Directions: From PA 150 N from Lock Haven to Woolrich, turn right on McElhattan Drive. This will go over the bridge into McElhattan. Turn right onto Old Bridge Road and then right on Spook Hollow Road. This will take you into the parking lot for the trail. Alternatively you can turn left from Old Bridge Road onto McKinney Road and drive along the river.

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5.     Kettle Creek State Park
Kettle Creek State Park consists of 1,793 acres along Kettle Creek in western Clinton County. The park is in a valley surrounded by mountainous terrain and wilderness. It is open every day of the year from sunrise to sunset and has camping and picnicking facilities as well. The habitat is very diverse with a large lake, streams, wooded, riparian, grassland, and brushy areas. A large variety of warblers can be expected in spring migration as well as flycatchers, vireos, neo-tropical species, swallows, sparrows, and waterfowl.

Directions: the park is located along SR4001, 7 miles north of PA 120 at Westport and 3 miles west of PA 144.

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6.     South Avis Farmland
South Avis Farmland is an area of farm and sod fields bounded by Pine Creek, the Susquehanna River, and the town of Avis. Birding is generally by car. The quality of birding is very dependent on the amount of rain during spring and fall migration. In years of abundant rain, large pools of water develop in some of the fields which leads to great shorebird birding in the spring and/or fall migration. Rarities are regularly found in years of good rainfall. Snow Geese, Tundra Swans, and a variety of ducks can also be found in the spring.   In winter Horned Lark, Lapland Longspur, and Snow Bunting can sometimes be found.

Directions: From Woodward Avenue or 150 N in Avis turn right on Tiadaghton  Avenue, Continue on Tiadaghton Avenue to Old River Road. The fields are along Old River Road.

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7.      Susquehanna River – Lock Haven
This birding hotspot which can be viewed by car or on foot is the dam at the Jay Street Bridge in Lock Haven. This site is best during spring and fall waterfowl migration when many varieties of ducks as well as geese, swans, grebes, gulls, and loons may be seen. Rarities are always a possibility.   Eagles are often seen over the dam.

Directions: From Water Street in Lock Haven, cross the river using the Jay Street Bridge. Turn left to use Riverview Park as the viewpoint or right to use the boat launch area as a viewpoint. An alternative is to access the levee from Water Street and walk on the levee to view the river.

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8.      State Game Lands 255
State Game Lands 255 is relatively new to the list of hotspots but is fast becoming one of the best. Accessible by foot only.  This game land consists of 2,278 acres in eastern Centre and southwestern Clinton Counties between Bald Eagle Creek and Bald Eagle Mountain. The habitat is tremendously diverse with forested, herbaceous, and brushy areas. Conditions permitting, this game land can be birded year-round.  Expected birds include many species of warblers, thrushes, flycatchers, neo-tropical species, vireos, woodpeckers, sparrows, raptors, and owls.

Directions: From 150 S in Mill Hall turn left on North Water Street. Continue to Church Street and turn right on Church Street which will become Bald Eagle Mountain Road. Continue on Bald Eagle Mountain Road until you reach the parking for State Game Lands 255.

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9.      North East Fishery Center
The North East Fishery Center is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Facility that is open to visitors. There are wooded areas as well as stream side areas. Expected birds in the spring and summer include waterfowl, warblers, flycatchers, thrushes, vireos, and wrens.  In winter there are many woodpeckers and the usual winter birds.

Directions: From PA Route 64 S or Nittany Valley Drive in Lamar, turn onto Washington Avenue. This will come to the entrance for the Northeast Fishery Center. Drive in