Birding at Cincinnati Nature Center - Rowe Woods4949 Tealtown Road, Milford, Ohio
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Cincinnati Nature Center - Rowe Woods
4949 Tealtown Rd., Milford, OH 45150
DeLorme Page Number and Coordinates
(7th Edition and earlier) page 75, grid C/D-5/6.
Nearest Town or City
5.7 miles SE of Milford, Ohio.
Directions from Nearest Town or City
From Milford, U.S. 50 E to Roundbottom Rd. in Perintown, turn right. Next available left is Tealtown Rd. Proceed onto Tealtown to the CNC entrance .7 miles on the right.
About Rowe Woods
Located east of Milford, Rowe Woods consists of 790 acres of fields, forest, ponds, and streams. The original Cincinnati Nature Center site boasts 14 miles of hiking trails for visitors to explore and enjoy.
The site is open dawn to dusk; the Rowe building (with gift shop, library, and other amenities) is open 9-5 M-Sat., and 1-5 on Sundays.
There is plenty of paved parking, and gravel parking is also available during overflow. Easter weekend sees the highest volume of visitors due to daffodils and wildflowers in bloom.
Members free with membership card. Non-member admissions fees vary, see Cincinnati Nature Center’s website for details.
Restrooms with flush toilets and running water are available in the Rowe building, and there is access from outside when the building is closed.
Harmful Insects, Poisonous Plants, or Animals
Poison Ivy, Poison Sumac, Stinging Nettle, occasional bees & wasps, ticks, and few mosquitoes are on site. Best advice is to stay on the trail, thus avoiding the dangerous plants. In some years, raccoons have been known to carry distemper. The only poisonous snake in the area is the Northern Copperhead, but they are nocturnal and very inconspicuous. Sometimes hikers encounter stray dogs on the trails that can appear to be aggressive, especially in the more remote areas.
Restaurants in the Area
There are plenty of restaurants in the Eastgate Mall area. To reach this area, turn right out of the nature center’s driveway onto Tealtown Rd. Follow this for 3 miles to Old S.R. 74 and turn R. At the next light (UDF, CVS) turn left onto Glen Este-Withamsville Rd. (a lot of roads in Clermont county have long, often hyphenated, names). Go straight thru the next major intersection with S.R. 32, and turn right into a plethora of fast food restaurants. Also available are Golden Corral, Perkins, Bob Evans and O’Charley’s. If you turn left out of the nature center drive, after .7 miles you will turn R onto Roundbottom Rd. Another half mile brings you to Perintown, where there is a UDF at the corner. Turn left onto U.S. 50 for ~ 3.4 miles to Milford Parkway. There is a new Cracker Barrel there and some other restaurants and fast food.
Other Useful Information
The Clermont County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is located behind Applebee’s along Glen Este-Withamsville Rd. near its intersection with S.R. 32. You may be able to pick up a map of the county there. Traffic can be heavy at times, especially at this intersection. Use caution on Tealtown Rd. Sometimes deer stand in the middle of the road as they are crossing. There is also a sharp turn or two on this road.
Other Birding Spots in the Area
In addition to restaurants along Milford Parkway, many species of sparrows can be found in the fields behind Showcase Cinemas in winter, including White-crowned, Savannah, Field, Song, White-throated, American Tree, and possibly others (a Lincoln’s here provided only the second record of this species in the history of the Cincinnati CBC). American Kestrels, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Red-tailed Hawks are also found here in winter. The Milford Tech Center (Delorme p. 75, C-5) between I-275 and Roundbottom Rd. is excellent in winter for accipiters, bluebirds, mockingbirds and others. Along the Little Miami River in winter during Christmas Bird Counts, we have found Red-shouldered Hawk, Great Horned Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, Wood Duck, Hooded Merganser, Gadwall, American Black Duck, Northern Mockingbird, Pileated Woodpecker and others. There is plenty of paved parking within this business complex, and many of the businesses maintain bird feeders here. Driving east on U.S. 50, you will see a large open field at Wolfpen-Pleasant Hill Rd. (Delorme p. 75, C-5) where Bob Foppe and I counted 81 Wild Turkeys on one Christmas Bird Count. In the 1980s I also saw Red-headed Woodpeckers here on the telephone poles and feeding on corn on the ground.
East Fork State Park (8420 acres land, 2160 acres water. See the Site Guide entry for details.
South of S.R. 32, following I-275, are Woodland Mound Park (exit # 71) and Withrow Nature Preserve (exit # 69) – see www.hamiltoncountyparks.org/downloads/index.html – in the Hamilton County Park District.
Woodland Mound Park (926 acres of deciduous woodland, brush, fields, ponds, and scenic overlooks) has a variety of habitat with a variety of birds. Near one of the vistas overlooking the Ohio River, one may easily find Prairie Warblers singing from the hillside below in spring. This vista is also a great place to catch fall raptor and warbler migration. Both accipiters, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, and Broad-winged Hawks, and Turkey Vultures have passed by on some of my fall visits here, as well as large flocks of Common Nighthawks. Although I have only visited sporadically in all seasons since my first visit in 1982, I have managed to record 74 species (includes 14 species of warblers). To reach Woodland Mound Park from I-275 S, take exit #71 and go E on US 52 for 3.7 miles. Turn L onto Eight Mile Rd. At four-way stop sign, turn R and proceed to park entrance on L. (Delorme p. 75, D-5).
Withrow Nature Preserve (268 acres of woodland, old farm fields, garden, stream and river overlook) is highly recommended for its diverse land bird life and vistas overlooking the Ohio River. Many species of warblers and vireos have been found here in migration (and some remaining to nest), as well as thrushes, tanagers, orioles, and rarities such as “Brewster’s” Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Blue Grosbeak, and Bald Eagle. I have logged 106 species (including 26 species of warblers) here since my first visit in 1988. It also has a high deer population, and this is the only place I have ever seen a Long-tailed Weasel. To reach Withrow Nature Preserve from I-275 S, take exit # 69 and turn left (South) onto Five Mile Rd. Turn left at stop sign onto Old Five Mile Rd. to park entrance on the left. (Delorme p. 75, D-4).
California Woods Nature Preserve (exit # 72), a part of the Cincinnati Park Board, is nearby. Although only 110 acres (mature virgin deciduous woodland with large stream and a prairie/meadow), California Woods is a great site for birding (however it is prone to flooding in early spring). To get to California Woods from I-275, take the Kellogg Ave. exit #72 (last exit south before the Ohio River) and turn right. Watch your speed and proceed along Kellogg Ave. for ~ 1.6 miles to the entrance on the right. (Delorme p. 75, C-4). A trail map may be available at the box at the end of the first parking lot or you could pick one up at the nature center building beyond the parking lot. Consistently for many years Great Horned Owls have nested here, and the male or sometimes the pair together have high site fidelity in the same large sycamore at the beginning of Trillium Valley Trail. It is the first large sycamore on the left of the trailhead. Many species nest here, including most woodpeckers, Belted Kingfisher, Wood Duck, Broad-winged and Red-tailed Hawks, Acadian and Great Crested Flycatchers, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Phoebe, Red-eyed, Warbling and Yellow-throated Vireos, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Cedar Waxwing, Wood Thrush, Yellow-throated, Northern Parula, Cerulean, and Hooded Warblers and Louisiana Waterthrushes, both tanagers and Baltimore Oriole. Since my first visit in 1982 I have logged 95 species (including 26 species of warblers – most notable are Golden-winged, Black-throated Blue, Blackburnian, Worm-eating, and Canada). This is one of the few places in the Cincinnati area to find Worm-eating Warblers. However, the most reliable is at Boone Cliffs in Boone County, KY.
Birds of Interest by Season
Northern Saw-whet Owls occur almost annually (November thru March) in the many red cedars throughout the property. However, it is best to go with a naturalist or CNC member to a known roosting owl, as one can get disoriented very easily in the cedar stands. Great Horned, Barred, and sometimes Eastern Screech-Owls can also be found roosting in the decidous or coniferous woodlands, sometimes not far from the parking lot. Northern Harriers have been seen in the fields on Lookout Trail. All seven species of woodpeckers can be found here in winter, although Red-headed can be very tough to find and may be absent in some years. Winter Wrens are sometimes found along Avey’s Run. Both kinglets can be found here, especially in the cedar stands while searching for saw-whets. Eastern Bluebirds have been helped along by numerous bluebird boxes, and can readily be found along woodland edges adjacent to fields where these boxes are placed. Pine Warblers are sometimes found in the Douglas Firs behind the Rowe building, and during irruption years Red-breasted Nuthatches and Pine Siskins can be found at and around the feeders here. Rare winter visitors have included Long-eared Owl, Purple Finch, Evening Grosbeak (1980s), Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Common Redpoll, Cape May Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, and Indigo Bunting.
The attraction here during spring migration is the warblers (I have seen 35 species here), thrushes (all 5 species), tanagers, and orioles. Some of the more sought-after species seen here include Gray-cheeked Thrush (Wildflower trail) and Veery (Wildflower and Woodland trails), Blue-headed and Philadelphia Vireos (trees adjacent to driveway and Woodland trail) and the following warblers: Golden-winged, Orange-crowned, Northern Parula (has nested in firs behind Rowe bldg.), Cape May (check the spruces in the parking lot), Black-throated Blue, Yellow-throated, Pine, Prairie, Cerulean, Prothonotary (nests in boxes in Crosley Lake), Worm-eating (hard to find, but check Fox Rock overlook and the Far Ridge trailhead), Northern Waterthrush, Connecticut Warbler (I have consistently found singing males around May 15th along the all-person’s trail between the Crop Fields and Wildflower trail), Mourning (along Herb Wall), Hooded (Wildflower, Woodland, and Far Ridge trails), Wilson’s (thickets between all-person’s trail and reservoir pond), Canada (Far Ridge and Woodland trailheads), Yellow-breasted Chat (Lookout trail). In addition to these goodies, “Brewster’s” and “Lawrence’s” Warblers have both been found here. Another popular attraction is participation in an annual woodcock watch. American Woodcocks frequently display in early spring over the open fields. Organized events for this show are planned annually. Golden-crowned Kinglets sometimes gather in large flocks of up to 30 birds in mid April. Although Henslow’s Sparrows were once frequently found on Lookout trail in the 1980s, they have become increasingly harder to find here, and I haven’t seen them here in recent years. However, Lincoln’s Sparrows can be found on Lookout trail in the thickets and old fencerows. I once saw a Savannah Sparrow at the Rowe building feeders. Other specialties include Broad-winged and Red-shouldered Hawks and both cuckoos. Although Common Nighthawks are known for their spectacular August and September migration, my highest counts here were not in the fall but in the spring with 74 birds on 05/21/1989. Some species for which few records exist include Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (I had a fly-over in the parking lot on 05/07/1996), Common Merganser, Whimbrel (04/12/1991), Olive-sided Flycatcher and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.
Nesting species include Cooper’s, Red-shouldered, Broad-winged and Red-tailed Hawks, American Kestrel, Northern Bobwhite (harder to find than it once was but probably still present), Spotted Sandpiper, American Woodcock, both cuckoos, Eastern Screech-, Barred (young Barred Owls can usually be found along Fox Rock trail) and Great Horned Owls (young typically fledge by late March to mid April and nests are frequently encountered not far from the trails), Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher (Avey’s Run), Eastern Phoebe (nests annually on a light fixture on the porch side of Rowe building), Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, vireos (White-eyed, Yellow-throated, Warbling, and Red-eyed), Purple Martin, Tree, Northern. Rough-winged and Barn Swallows, White-breasted. Nuthatch, Carolina and House Wrens, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (several nests can be found in a single season), Eastern Bluebird (numerous bluebird boxes erected), Wood Thrush, all three mimic thrushes, Cedar Waxwing, warblers (Blue-winged, Northern Parula, Yellow, Yellow-throated, Prairie, Cerulean, Prothonotary [rare], Worm-eating [rare], Ovenbird, Louisiana Waterthrush, Kentucky [declining?], Common Yellowthroat, Hooded, and Yellow-breasted Chat), both tanagers, Eastern Towhee, sparrows (Chipping, Field, Song, Henslow’s [extirpated from CNC?]), Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Eastern Meadowlark and both orioles.
This season brings another wave of warblers. The most frequent fall species include Tennessee, Nashville, Bay-breasted, Yellow-rumped, American Redstart, and Black-throated Green, with lesser numbers of Black-and-white, Cape May, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, Palm, Blackpoll, and Ovenbird. A few Orange-crowned are found each fall, and sometimes Mourning and Connecticut, although quite infrequently. All five thrushes have been found in the fall, and six species of vireos are usually found. Fall is a great time to look for sparrows, especially in September. Open fields with tall grasses, such as Lookout trail and the Crop Fields, can often yield Field, Song, Swamp, and White-throated. Others found with less frequency in fall include Chipping, Savannah, Fox, Lincoln’s, and White-crowned. Toward the end of the fall season one may begin to expect some winter visitors such as White-throated Sparrow, Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.