From the town of Chatham, take Hwy 34 northeast and turn left onto Maple Street, which is the road along the dam. Or continue on 34 and take Chatham Lake Rd to your left to access the north side of the lake. Or take Hwy 4 northwest out of Chatham and then Hwy 146 and turn right onto Chatham Lake Road.

Chatham Lake is a small cypress lake located in the town of Chatham. The access loop road (Chatham Lake Road) allows for convenient views of the entire lake, as does the pier at the boat launch. Despite being small and near residential areas, the lake often produces good numbers of birds, especially waterfowl and raptors. The site is easily accessible, and birding can be done in or near the car. That said, a scope is recommended. 

Fifteen species of waterfowl have been recorded here, with diving ducks such as Ring-necked and Ruddy Ducks, and Greater and Lesser Scaup all making fall/winter/spring appearances. A Horned Grebe has been recorded here in November, and White-winged Scoter in February. 

Bonaparte's Gulls show up in winter as well. Least, Black and Forster's Terns have all been recorded in fall migration (August-November). Osprey are prominent March-September, and Bald Eagles appear just about every winter. Five swallow species cruise the lake on a rotating/seasonal basis each year. 

In the wet woods on the lake's western end, look for Rusty Blackbird in December-January. Other winter species of note include Red-breasted Nuthatch, Winter and Sedge Wrens, Hermit Thrush, and Swamp Sparrow, along with Orange-crowned, Pine, and Yellow-rumped Warblers. 

Biking and paddling are available here. Nearby, don’t miss Caney Lake Reservoir and Caney Lake Recreation Area (popular for spotting loons). Jimmie Davis State Park is also close. 

Parks & Nature