Migratory season is upon us and I wish I were flying south with the birds to warmer weather too. For the moment I have to settle on watching the birds travel, what a journey they have. Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge [3395 Auburn Rd, Seneca Falls, NY 13148] is just a under an hour ride from Syracuse, and sits on the northern end of Cayuga Lake.
The marsh is a refuge for these birds in transit during spring and fall, soon, in mid-November waterfowl numbers peak. Visitors will find 50,000 ducks and 100,000 geese making a layover here, truly a sight to see. In early October as I made my way to the Visitor’s Center parking lot, the pond was filled with early birds.
I went inside to acquire a trail map and spoke with a helpful woman who gave me a rundown of the preserve before I was on my way. From the parking you will find the Seneca Trail, approximately a 1 mile loop. If you head clockwise, you will come to an observation tower.
Vultures in the sky, snakes on the ground, and one of the six eagles nests in the park…too bad no one was home, we spotted three nests during our visit throughout the preserve. After completing the loop we returned to our car to take the Wildlife Drive. You are asked to remain in your car on the road, so bring your own binoculars for a better look. I was tickled to see the blanket of pink flowers growing in the marsh.
Driving slow and pulling off often the short road [just over three miles] took us quite some time to complete. We did get out of the car in the one spot you are allowed to walk to the bird blind passing an egret and a pink flower on the way.
We watched the swallows joyfully feeding during this time of plenty, and hoped to see an eagle – to no avail. Back to the car, slowly again, we finished the drive in this section of the park. We continued on to the trailhead of the South Spring Pool to continue hiking. These pools were less occupied than the ones by the visitor’s center. We continued on towards the Esker Brook trail finding a bit of elevation to climb and an overlook of the area. Once we reached the top we saw some benches, but kept walking. On this sunny day we passed so many snakes, soaking in the warmth.
There were hawks soaring and circling together in the air, it was beautiful. Frogs were hopping out of the way of our boots as we circled the path, and we looped back to the Spring trail. This second hiking portion was approximately three miles round trip, and we loved every step. The serene natural trails were abundant with nature, and made for an excellent hike!