Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, Western New York

We definitely did not plan on going here over the weekend getaway, but I overlooked a tiny detail of our next destination. It didn’t open until 1pm on Sundays, so we would have had to kick around doing nothing for two hours. Hrmpf. Can’t be doing that on adventure weekend. So I vaguely recalled Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge and it wasn’t that far away…Iroquois_National_Wildlife_Refuge_new_yorkI mean, what’s another hour or two of driving, when you’re already going crazy distances in a day? So we drove, drove, drove, really into the middle of nowhere (midway between Buffalo and Rochester), and got to the preserve. Normally I’d have everything planned out, so winging this was out of norm. We were a little confused on where to pick up the trails, as there were none leading directly out from the headquarters. There are four trails and four overlooks in the preserve. We set out trying to find Kanyoo trail recognized by google-maps, but it was a no go. What we did find were three out of four overlooks [along Oak Orchard Ridge Rd and Sour Springs Rd in Medina, NY], which were mighty impressive. Iroquois_National_Wildlife_Refuge_basomThe vistas of the marsh were topnotch and the birding was impeccable, osprey and great blue heron galore.

Iroquois_National_Wildlife_Refuge_nyI thought, OK even if this is all we see, I guess it was worth the drive. At the end of the road we found a nice old man out for a walk who gave us verbal directions to get to the Swallow Hollow trail [5844 Knowlesville Rd, Oakfield, NY 14125], we followed them thankfully and made it to the parking lot. Now we’re talking. The 1.3 mile loop trail was full of wonder, and really fun to say. I was shocked at the rainbow of color in an emergent marsh. I gleefully giggled at the pompom flowers I’d never seen before.

Iroquois_National_Wildlife_Refuge_swallow_hollowThe walk was filled with the sounds and sights of birds.

Iroquois_National_Wildlife_RefugeMost of them were way too fast to get a picture of, or even identify, but we did spot one super vibrant yellow warbler zoom right past us during our stroll on the forested wetland boardwalk. Overall I’d say the spontaneous trek was a success! National wildlife refuges are special places, and I really wanted to visit this one someday – I just didn’t expect it to be this particular weekend! I hope to be able to visit again sometime and discover the other trails, maybe during migration season.

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