Birding at Avon Lake Power Plant
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Avon Lake Power Plant
About Avon Lake Power Plant
The municipal park comprises 14.7 acres of mowed grass and mature trees, a boat launch area, a hooked breakwall, and a concrete fishing pier.
There are gazebos with picnic tables and some paved walkways, but no bathroom facilities. The park sits on a bluff overlooking the lake, and a four-foot high chain-link fence runs the length of the top of the bluff.
Miller Road Park at US-6, Avon Lake, Ohio
DeLorme Page Number and Coordinates
(7th Edition and earlier) Page 30, D-2
Nearest Town or City
On the west end of the city of Avon Lake, Ohio.
Directions from Nearest Town or City
Go to the western edge of Avon Lake on US 6 (Lake Road). There are two parking areas along the north side of the road in a city park between the plant itself and the stoplight at Miller Road. The most frequently used parking area is the more eastern one whose entrance road runs parallel and very close to the power plant.
Open daylight hours.
The most frequently used parking area is the more eastern one whose entrance road runs parallel and very close to the power plant.
None; portable toilets sometimes supplied.
Do not stray too close to the edge of the bluff and be wary of ice on the pier.
Restaurants in the Area
There are a couple of places to eat in a small shopping center a quarter of a mile to the east.
Other Useful Information
Avon Lake can be extraordinarily cold; wear your best gear in winter. Winds may leave the pier cloaked in ice, and ice on the ground in the park can be dangerous footing. Under certain conditions mist rising from the warm water will make viewing difficult, but least the sun is always at one’s back on the bluff during the colder months. Glare can be a problem on one side or another when viewing from the pier on sunny days. People going fishing, or even surfing, often use ‘unofficial’ entries to the beach, which is usually marked “No Trespassing,” to get to the outflow area, and spook gulls along the way, but the birds generally return after an interval.
Other Birding Spots in the Area
This site is one of a series of lakefront birding areas, and lies between Rocky River Park and Lorain Harbor.
Birds of Interest by Season
This site reliably attracts significant numbers of gulls and waterfowl November through March, drawn here by the warm-water outflow from the power plant, which emerges in a channel bordered by breakwalls and then plumes west, where it is easily visible from the park. The northeast corner of the park, a short distance from the recommended parking area, is a good vantage point for studying gull roosts on the beach, the breakwalls, or the ice, and gulls and waterfowl in the water. When you are done there, bird west along the fence to a gate that allows access to the fishing pier, which offers other vistas. Current water levels have opened a narrow sand beach, accessible from the bluff; it is often counterproductive to go down to the beach to look at birds, as your approach causes them to withdraw.
Many of the gull species on the state list have been recorded here. Particularly noteworthy are the gatherings of the larger species during the coldest part of the winter, when great and lesser black-backed gulls, the “white-winged “ species such as glaucous, Iceland, and Thayer’s gulls, and the occasional rarity are most likely. Gatherings of diving ducks can be spectacular at this period as well. Snowy owls sometimes hold vigils on the breakwalls, and jaegers show up from time to time. The spot is not worthwhile for passerines or shorebirds.
On first arriving, approach the lip of the bluff carefully, to avoid alarming birds that may be just below. Getting a good angle on all the birds may require choosing a spot with care, and adjusting the tripod to see over or through the fence. It may not always pay to walk to the very end of the pier, as birds in the water will often retreat as you advance.
Early spring can be productive of the species described above.
Late fall can be productive of the species described above.