Birding at Gilmore Ponds Preserve Metropark

Hamilton, Ohio

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Gilmore Ponds Preserve Metropark

General Information

Address

7950 Gilmore Road, Hamilton, Ohio 45015

County/Counties

Butler

DeLorme Page Number and Coordinates

(7th Edition and earlier) Page 74, B-3

Nearest Town or City

About 5 miles from downtown Hamilton, Ohio.

Directions from Nearest Town or City

From Dayton: Take I-75 south to SR 129. Go west on SR 129 to Bypass State Route 4. Turn left (south) on Bypass SR 4, then right (west) on Symmes Road. The parking lot is on the right side of the road, approximately one half mile from Bypass SR 4, at the intersection of Symmes Road and Berk Boulevard. This parking lot is shared with Quality Publishing. If you drive another half mile west on Symmes to Gilmore Road, you can turn right (north) onto Gilmore and go to the Gilmore Road parking lot, approximately three-quarters of a mile or so down Gilmore Road.

About Gilmore Ponds Preserve Metropark

Gilmore Ponds is about 200 acres in size. The trails are mostly along dikes and through fields. Seasonal flooding sometimes makes sections of the dikes, particularly the northern dike along the Miami-Erie Canal, impassible. Depending on water levels, the Cattail Marsh area can be good for waterfowl, herons and egrets or shorebirds.

 
During spring and fall migration, the trails around South Pond are good for passerines. Cattail Marsh is often good for sparrows, with a chance of seeing LeConte’s or Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows in the fall, again depending on water levels. It is not a very large area, so birders can get around the entire area fairly quickly. There are approximately two and a half miles of trails and two parking areas: one along Gilmore Road, and one along Symmes Road, opposite Berk Boulevard. For birders, the Symmes Road parking lot is recommended.

Visiting Information

Closed hours/season

Open all year during daylight hours.

Parking Areas

There are two paved parking lots; one on Gilmore Road and the other on Symmes Road.

Fees/Permits

A motor vehicle permit is required to enter the park site. Butler County residents may receive a permit fee-free. Other guests may purchase an annual permit for only $10.

Restroom Facilities

None.

Harmful Insects, Poisonous Plants, or Animals

Mosquitoes are potentially horrendous anytime between May and October, depending on water and weather conditions. Poison ivy is abundant along the trails and in wooded areas.

Restaurants in the Area

There are a number of restaurants along SR 4, south of Gilmore Ponds. Jungle Jim’s International Market (a huge supermarket) sells all sorts of food, including hot and cold, ready-to-eat meals.

Other Birding Spots in the Area

Miami Whitewater Wetlands is approximately twenty to thirty minutes away. The Voice of America Park is fifteen minutes away. In spring, a trip to Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati is worth the trip. Also, Spring Valley Wildlife Area is within a thirty minute or so drive.

Birds of Interest by Season

Winter

Typical southern Ohio wintering species can be found here. Gilmore Ponds has been the regular wintering site for one or two Saw-whet Owls since the year 2000.

Spring

Waterfowl, waders, rails, shorebirds can be found when conditions are right. Passerine migrants and breeders, including prothonotary warbler, are usually regular during this season, regardless of water conditions.

Summer

Look for breeding Prothonotary Warblers, Yellow Warblers, and the expected species found in shrubby, second-growth woodlot, and field habitats. When conditions are favorable, Black-crowned Night Herons and other wetland species may breed at Gilmore Ponds. During late summer, regionally significant numbers of Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Little Blue Herons, and Snowy Egrets can be found here, depending on water levels. Shore-birding conditions may range from poor to very good, depending on the weather and water levels.

Fall

This is an excellent area for the fall songbird migration. There is usually a good variety found here, with some species in abundance. Exploring the fields in the West Pond / Cattail Marsh areas has, in recent years, produced Virginia rail, LeConte’s and Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows. As in the summer, shore-birding varies from poor to very good, depending on weather and water levels.

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