Barcelona Harbor is a lakefront area for multiple forms of access to Lake Erie that provides good vantage points for birding the shoreline. The parking area, beach, docks, picnic area, boat launch, restroom facilities and pier are owned by the Town of Westfield.
Natural History Interest
For hundreds of years the Barcelona Harbor area was a historic take-out point for voyaging into the interior of North America. From the beach at Barcelona travelers could take out their canoes and mount the Portage Trail that led to the northern end of Chautauqua Lake and a continuous water route into the Allegheny-Ohio basin and beyond.
Who To Contact
Taken from the Town of Westfield website:
The Town of Westfield owns property on Lake Erie which includes the Daniel Reed Pier, a cottage used as an information center and a small beach (where no swimming is allowed at present time). The Harbor Master’s office sells fishing licenses, season passes and daily launch tickets and opens at daybreak from May 1 to September 15. The site includes picnic tables and boat launch facilities. There is a buoy field also owned by the Town, that allows individuals to moor their boat in the harbor area (for an annual fee). The pier is located on Rt. 5 just east of the intersection of Rt. 394 & Rt. 5.
Hours of Operation: Daybreak to 7:00 p.m.
Harbor Master: Kelly Brown
How To Get There
Barcelona Harbor is located north of Westfield, NY and just off NY 5. From exit 60 (Westfield) off I-90, turn right onto NY 394. Go less than half a mile to NY 5. Turn right onto NY 5 and proceed less than half a mile to the harbor entrance. View the harbor from the access road sloping down to the pier or from the pier itself.
What To See
To view the eBird hotspot of the site complete with recent bird sightings click on this link. To view an eBird bar chart page of all recorded sightings click on this link. Birds that have been found at this historic harbor include Sabine’s Gull and Purple Sandpiper. The abundant and varied fall waterfowl migration past Barcelona usually yields a few Red-throated Loons and impressive Common Loon flights. Late April produces good numbers of Common and Caspian Terns, and Forster’s Tern is regular in late summer and early fall. Rarities in Barcelona Harbor have included Northern Gannet (one winter and one spring record), American White Pelican, Red Phalarope, and upstate New York’s first American Oystercatcher in May of 1986.
In the fall large flocks of hundreds or thousands of Bonaparte’s Gulls like the ones seen in the photo above can be found feeding in Barcelona Harbor. Groups like the ones in the video below can contain rarities like the Little Gull or Black-headed Gull.
The colder, windier and more uncomfortable the weather gets the better the birding can be at Barcelona Harbor.
Why It’s Important To Conservation
Similar to other points along Lake Erie, such as Dunkirk Harbor, Barcelona Harbor’s main importance stems from the fact it is situated on Lake Erie. Even though the harbor and recreational development features are not of conservation importance they promote the importance of this freshwater feature and help people of all ages to explore this wondrous natural area, hopefully gaining an appreciation of it as they do. Being permitted access to Barcelona Harbor as the great vantage point that it is permits us to study the life that utilizes one of the largest and most vital lakes on the planet. Millions of birds use Lake Erie every year and as many species or come under pressure it is important for conservationists to study their populations and monitor fluctuations in numbers, behavior, feeding and more by recording them at locations such as Dunkirk Harbor.