Birding at Eastlake Power PlantEastlake, Ohio
Visiting this Site
Eastlake Power Plant
End of Erie Road, near Halsey Drive; Eastlake, OH
DeLorme Page Number and Coordinates
(7th Edition and earlier) Page 31, C-7
Directions from Nearest Town or City
Reached from either SR 2 or I-90, by taking the exit for SR 91 north. SR 91 ends at SR 283, the lakeshore highway, two miles north of SR 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.
About Eastlake Power Plant
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.
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.
Restaurants in the Area
Food and restrooms in businesses are available near the stoplight on SR 283. A donut shop there with both, as well as hot coffee, is popular with chilled birders.
Other Useful Information
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.
Other Birding Spots in the Area
This is one of a chain of Cleveland-area lakeshore birding spots; good areas not far to the east include Headlands Beach SP and Fairport Harbor.
Birds of Interest by Season
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.
Early spring features the same birds as winter.
Late fall can feature the same birds as winter.