Birding at Buck Creek State Park / C. J. Brown Reservoir

1901 Buck Creek Lane, Springfield, Ohio

Visiting this Site

Site Maps & Info

Map and information about this site.

Buck Creek State Park

General Information

Address

1901 Buck Creek Lane, Springfield, OH 45502

County/Counties

Clark

DeLorme Page Number and Coordinates

(7th Edition and earlier) 66:A3

Nearest Town or City

About 2 miles northeast of Springfield, Ohio.

Directions from Nearest Town or City

From US Route 40 east out of Springfield, turn north at the traffic light onto Bird Road. The road changes names to Buck Creek Lane at the next traffic light. Continue north into the park.

About Buck Creek State Park

The State Park is about 4000 acres, the lake occupying about 2120 acres. Over 250 species of birds have been recorded in the park. The park is surrounded by Buck Creek Lane, Old Columbus Road, Grant Road, Moorefield Road, State Route 4, Croft Road, and Robert Eastman Road. Within the park there are roads that go from the entrance on Buck Creek Lane to the beach, the marina, cabins, and campground. No other entrances connect to these roads.

 
From Croft Road you can connect to Overlook Drive on the west side of the lake. This takes you to the Corps of Engineers visitor center, where there are a couple of wood lots and most of the rest of the land is abandoned fields planted with trees about 35 years ago. There is a beach at the southeast corner on the lake. The north end of the lake is marshy, but unfortunately many of the cattails have been replaced with reed canary grass and it isn’t very good for birds. There are a few trails in the park. The Lakeview Trail starts at the marina and goes north through the cabin area and continues to the campground. Then it continues north near the edge of the lake and connects to another trail that runs mostly under some high voltage power lines that run north and south on the east side of the lake. You can also access these trails from the horsemen’s area off Grant Road and at the north end of the lake off Grant Road.
 
On the west side of the lake the Buckhorn Trail starts from Overlook Drive and continues north along the west side of the lake for a few miles and then ends. You can also walk along the partly paved and partly gravel road that leads to the historic Crabill House. The state website shows these trails and you can get maps, a bird list, and a watchable wildlife guide from the Corps of Engineers Visitor Center.

Visiting Information

Closed hours/season

The beach parking area is closed from November through April, but the beach can often be accessed from the Visitor Center parking area, old Lewis Center Road, or even the west dam parking area. Hogback Preserve may be closed on many winter weekends, but Hogback Road is always open.

Parking Areas

There are many throughout the area. See directions for details.

Fees/Permits

Camping fees, if you wish to stay at the campground (west end of Cheshire causeway).

Restroom Facilities

Most developed areas have them, including the Visitor’s Center, Beach, Hollenback Marina, Campground, Howard Road Bridge, Cheshire boat launch, and the New Galena boat launch.

Harmful Insects, Poisonous Plants, or Animals

Poison Ivy.

Restaurants in the Area

Fast food can be found at the SR 37/I-71 interchange. There is a better selection of eateries in Delaware.

Other Useful Information

Gas stations are located at the SR 37/I-71 interchange.

Other Birding Spots in the Area

Highbanks Metro Park is 4-5 miles southwest of the park, along US 23. This area is also quite close to the northern end of Hoover Reservoir (4-5 miles east of the southern end of the park) as well as Delaware Reservoir and Wildlife Area (5-7 miles northwest of the northern end of the park).

Birds of Interest by Season

Winter

The most interesting birds in winter are usually ducks and geese. Depending on the weather the lake can be completely frozen, have some open area in the center kept open by the waterfowl, or be mostly open. Unless it is frozen there are ducks and geese in the area.

If the lake freezes solid in January, good viewing conditions develop as the water starts to open in February at the north end of the lake. At this time the limited open water where Buck Creek flows into the lake provides close viewing. The fields around the lake can attract American Tree Sparrows. Walks along some of the trails in the park should produce many of the regularly occurring winter birds. There are also feeders at the Corps of Engineers Visitor Center that attract winter sparrows and finches.

Spring

In March ducks and geese are at their peak. Looking for them requires stops at several places around the lake. All of the regularly-occurring species have been seen here almost annually. We also have had American White Pelicans in the spring in recent years including a flock of 19 in April 2002. Later in the spring many regular migrants can be seen along the trails. In late spring Bell’s Vireos have been seen most years since 1985 in various locations in the park. At the Corps of Engineers Visitor Center you can usually find both orioles and sometimes Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. The orioles usually stay to nest.

Summer

This isn’t the best season at the park. The Bell’s Vireos can usually be seen until early July and chats nest in the park. In August there are sometimes a few terns and shorebirds on the beach in the early morning. There is one record of Least Tern in July and two records of Piping Plover in August on the beach.

Fall

There are several records of Buff-breasted Sandpiper in late August and September for the beach area. There are a few migrant warblers in the fall. When they finally lower the lake levels by early to mid October there are extensive mudflats at the north end of the lake that attract shorebirds. Waterfowl migration is not as good as in spring because of extensive hunting. Some ducks can stop at the south end of the lake but don’t usually stay long when the duck season is open.

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