Mendon Ponds Park (Mendon, NY) – #17

Chickadee on hand

The Songbird Trail at Mendon Ponds is a favorite place for families to feed chickadees and titmice by hand. (@ Laura Kammermeier).

HABITAT

Extremely varied, with kettle holes, kames, and eskers – glacial features which have earned this park Nation Landmark status. The 2,500 acres include five major ponds of various depths, marshes, swamps, a bog, and many small kettle holes, as well as oak woodland, pine plantations, and open fields. Extensive shrub thickets of dogwood and other fruiting shrubs have developed from long-abandoned fields and provide cover and food for a wide variety of birds and animals.

Poison ivy is widespread in many areas of the park. Many of the bridle trails are muddy and pitted throughout the year.

DIRECTIONS

The park is situated just south of the NYS Thruway, between Rte. 65 (Clover Street) on the west and Mendon Center Road on the east. There are three entrances to the park from Clover Street and two from Mendon Center Road (see map).

Mendon Ponds Park map

Click to view at larger scale.

BIRDING OPPORTUNITIES

For recent sightings go to http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspots. Typing in ‘Mendon Ponds Park’ will produce the Ebird reports in the area.

There is a variety of waterfowl present on the ponds in winter and a particular specialty is the tribe of Black-capped Chickadee (and occasionally a Red-breasted Nuthatch) which feed readily from the hand on the Birdsong and Swamp Trails near the Nature Center. However, the birding is best in spring and early summer.

REGULAR SPECIES

There are 85 – 90 species known to nest in the park. Specialties include Eastern Bluebird and a variety of warblers.

Mendon Ponds Park - © Dick Horsey - Oct 27, 2014

Mendon Ponds Park – © Dick Horsey – Oct 27, 2014

SUGGESTED SPOTS TO VISIT

Almost any area of the park can yield interesting birds. However, some of the locations which have regularly produced a good variety in spring and summer are shown by numbered spots on the map over the page:

  1. The Nature Center. The Birdsong and Swamp Trails hold a good mixture of birds in all seasons, including winter. Bring sunflower seeds to feed the chickadees.
  2. The Old Meadow. A loop from the road down to Quaker Pond, along the pond and back up should provide a variety of passerines, including nesting Eastern Bluebird in the spring and early summer. Rails have been seen in the small pond where the trail leaves Quaker Pond.
  3. West of Quaker Pond. This area is less frequented and may yield different species. Wild Turkey are seen regularly in this area of the park.
  4. Cavalry Lodge. The trails between here and Pond Road, and east to Woodchuck Hollow provide a variety of woodland, grassland, and shrub habitats good for warblers and other passerines.
  5. Hopkins Point Road. The woods along the road here can be productive for winter finches and a variety of warblers in spring.

ACCESS AND RESTRICTIONS

Mendon Ponds Park - © Dick Horsey - Oct 27, 2014

Mendon Ponds Park – © Dick Horsey – Oct 27, 2014

The park is administered by the Monroe County Parks Department. It is open all year, although some roads or trails may be closed from time to time in the winter. There are numerous parking lots throughout the park, many adjacent to picnic lodges, and limited parking is permitted at the roadside.

There are some 35 miles of trails, providing access to all parts of the park. Many trail intersections are marked with numbered posts which are shown on a ski trail map, available from the park office.

SEE YOUR PHOTOS ON THIS PAGE!

Do you have a photo or two of birds, habitat, or people taken here that you’d like us to share? Please submit your image here and we’ll consider it for publication on this page. Please tell us how you’d like your image to be credited. Thanks!