Orwell, Shoreham, Bridport, Addison, Panton, Ferrisburgh
Lake Champlain provides a link for migrating waterfowl and other birds between breeding areas to the north and the Atlantic Ocean. Mixed species rafts are particularly prevalent during the winter and early spring, when bald eagles can also be plentiful. The ice edge usually offers the best viewing opportunities. Some access points along Lake Champlain are listed below from south to north. For additional sites around the lake and the area visit the Lake Champlain Birding Trail

Mt. Independence, Orwell

Mt. Independence is a state-owned historic site. It offers walking trails through fields and lake-side forests. The site is open from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. To reach the site take Route 73 west from Orwell; take the first left on a paved town road that forks; take the right fork. The road will turn to gravel and parallel Lake Champlain. At the next fork; take a sharp left hand turn towards a small marina. The parking lot for the historic site is on the left at the top of the hill.

Ebird Checklist for Mt. Independence

McCuen Slang and Whitney Creek, Addison

This state owned wildlife management area sits just south of the Champlain Bridge along Rt. 125. McCuen Slang is a boat access site surrounded by early successional forests. Blue-gray gnatcatchers and orchard orioles have been known to nest in the area.

Whitney Creek enters Lake Champlain just north of the McCuen Slang access area. There is a short muddy walking trail to the east off Rt. 125, but a canoe or kayak along the creek offers the best birding.

Ebird Checklist for McCuen Slang and Whitney Creek

Chimney Point, Addison

The boat launch right under the Champlain Bridge is a good spot for early winter waterfowl.

Ebird Checklist for Chimney Point

DAR State Park, Addison

The state park includes mature forests and early successional habitats as well as access to Lake Champlain.

Ebird Checklist for DAR

Potash Bay, Addison

Potash Bay Rd. off of Lake St. in Addison is often worth a quick check. The road provides views of the lake and the bay sometimes shelters flocks of waterfowl

Ebird Checklist for Potash Bay

Arnold Bay, Panton Town Beach, Panton

About four miles north of Potash Bay road along Lake St. the road forks. Arnold Bay road goes straight while the main road turns right. Take Arnold Bay Rd. north 0.7 miles to the intersection of Adams Ferry Rd. A left (west) on Adams Ferry Rd. leads to the water intake for the Vergennes-Panton Water District. There is a gravel beach at the bottom of the hill and the sheltered bay sometimes hosts waterfowl seeking refuge from a south wind.

Button Bay, Ferrisburgh

Button Bay State Park offers wonderful opportunities for waterfowl and a mature forest along Button Point that hosts a variety of species. The campground itself can be very productive during the off season. Just south of the State Park is a boat launch with a parking area on a hill overlooking the lake which can also provide good views of the lake. Button Bay rarely disappoints enthusiastic birders.

Button Bay Ebird Checklist

Lower Otter Creek Wildlife Management Area, Ferrrisburgh

From Vergennes head north on MacDonough Drive which turns into Sand Rd. After 5.2 miles turn left on Fort Cassin Rd., a dirt road. This road leads to a boat launch near the mouth of the Otter Creek. There are substantial hardwood swamp and buttonbush marsh habitats that attract spring migrants, while the lake waters to the north host waterfowl.

Otter Creek Mouth and Porter Bay area eBird Checklist

Kingsland Bay, Ferrisburgh

Kingsland Bay State Park offers lake front access there and some wonderful walking trails through mature cedar bluff forests. Ferrisburgh Town Beach, at the south end of Kingsland Bay also has walking trails through mature forests and very productive early successional shrub areas.

Ebird Checklist for Kingsland Bay

Little Otter Creek Wildlife Management Area, Ferrisburgh

After travelling 1.5 miles east and south from the entrance to Kingsland Bay State Park the road crosses Hawkins Slang on a causeway, with a boat launch on the west side. The area offers marsh and floodplain forest habitats. A trail on the west of the creek south of the road skirts along the edge of the forest (very wet and buggy in spring). The marshes are best accessed by canoe or kayak, but are filled with marsh wrens and wading birds. In recent years Caspian terns have hunted the area.

Little Otter Creek WMA eBird Checklist