Birding at Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area

Curtice, Ohio

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Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area

General Information

Address

Curtice, OH 43412

County/Counties

Lucas

DeLorme Page Number and Coordinates

(7th Edition and earlier) Page 27, C-7

Nearest Town or City

About 15 miles east of Toledo, about 5 miles west of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.

Directions from Nearest Town or City

From Toledo, take SR 2 due east for about 15 miles. Just as SR 2 bends to the right, turn left on the road signposted for Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area. Coming from Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, take SR 2 west about 5 miles and turn right on the road signposted for Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area.

About Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area

Of Metzger Marsh’s 900+ acres, 558 are the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s property; the rest belong to Ottawa NWR, and are closed to public access. The Ohio Department of Wildlife has built a paved access road, a marina, and a fishing pier, in addition to the dike. The long dike has a small opening intended to allow water levels in the impoundment to fluctuate with those of Lake Erie. The vegetation inside the impoundment has been in flux: cattails, Phragmites, open water, or seedling trees have been dominant features at various times since the diking. The mudflats and shallows that once attracted shorebirds, larid roosts, etc., seem to be a thing of the past.

In recent years, impenetrable tall growths of Phragmites reed have prevented viewing of the impoundment from the west, but views of the open water areas from several parking areas along the road past the marina sometimes reveals ducks in migration, overhead gulls and terns, swallows, bald eagles, herons and egrets, etc. A few shorebirds tolerant of deeper water – e.g., yellowlegs, spotted sandpipers, egrets and herons – may be seen. Ducks in season are more numerous in deeper water close to the dike, and are most easily approached by parking in the last lot by the fishing pier and walking east atop the dike. Other ducks and fly-by birds can be seen on the lakeward side of the same walk.

Visiting Information

Closed hours/season

Open all year during daylight hours.

Parking Areas

There are several pull-offs, along the road to the end where there is a parking lot.

Fees/Permits

None.

Restroom Facilities

There is a portable toilet at the parking lot at the end.

Restaurants in the Area

The nearest restaurant, frequented often by birders, is Blackberry Corners; a bar and grill about 3 miles SW on SR 579 and a mile west of SR 2.

Other Birding Spots in the Area

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Magee Marsh, and Crane Creek State Park are all popular birding areas, just to the east, off SR 2.

Birds of Interest by Season

Winter

American Bald Eagles can often be seen in the eastern, more wooded portion of this marsh.

Spring

The trees and brush surrounding the last parking lot frequently act as a migrant trap in spring, and it is at this time, and in this rather small and scraggly aggregation of willows and cottonwoods and garlic mustard, that Metzger attracts the most attention from birders these days. It is always worth checking from late April through early June.

Summer

Several years ago, there were sightings of Yellow-headed Blackbirds here for two consecutive years.

Fall

In the past, this has been a staging area for large numbers of swallows which can be observed flying over the marsh and lined up on the wires in the area of the marina.

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