El Dorado Coastal Preserve

On a recent trip up to Lake Ontario, we visited one of our favorite nature preserves in the area known as the El Dorado Coastal Preserve.  This preserve sits at the eastern end of Lake Ontario in Ellisburg, NY (about 22 miles south of Watertown, NY and Sackets Harbor, NY).  El Dorado is owned by the Nature Conservancy and is part of land that was acquired in 1960.  El Dorado is 360 acres and has over a mile long trail that goes from north to south and includes a southern loop with bird blinds on the shoreline.  It is managed in cooperation with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

There are many sand dunes, and like those on all the Great Lakes, they are important for migratory birds.  Throughout the year you can see numerous species of shore birds, warblers, and raptors at the El Dorado preserve and we saw quite a few terns and seagulls during our visit.

The Black Pond Wildlife Management area is directly south of El Dorado and is state land.  

We walked along the beach from camp past the Black Pond area to the El Dorado Nature Preserve.  The lake level was a little low this year, so we were able to walk out onto the rocks that are usually a few feet under water.

Three huge rocks probably left there from when the glaciers melted!
A fledgling Killdeer
Sunset from El Dorado Preserve
We saw a few dozen very large snapping turtles on this trip!
Could be a Northern Water Snake. This one was just chillin’ in the sun.

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