Each month, our OOS Regional Directors are sharing their favorite birding hotspots in their respective regions – and beyond. These include some well-know destinations, specialty spots for specific species, and their own secret, treasured local patches. Have a favorite birding location? Reach out to your OOS Regional Director and let them know!
Amy Downing – Northwest Regional Director
Findlay Reservoir – Hancock County
As the largest upground reservoir in Ohio completed in 1968 with Reservoir 1 and 2 combined for a total 850 acres of clear open water, this has become my spring/fall/winter “daily patch” just 10 minutes from home. I hit it most days of the week and sometimes twice on Sundays! The challenges now are blazing sun, mostly powerful winds, and constant walkers and dogs also enjoying the open water and stone walkways. The “normal” shorebirds I expect are Buff-breasted and Baird’s Sandpipers, Semipalmated Plover and Sandpipers, Black-belled and American Golden Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, and American Avocets. This last week I caught a brat pack of Black Terns and four Red-necked Phalarope interacting!
As the shorebirds move out with October I look forward to winter time birding with waterfowl including all the ducks, grebes, geese and thousand of gulls to pick through in biting cold and wind. The Findlay Reservoir can be brutal in all seasons, but also the best challenge and reward!
Kandace Glanville – Central Regional Director
Blendon Woods Metro Park – Franklin County
Good for either spring or fall migration, Blendon Woods Metro Park (Franklin county) is my go-to place for fall warblers. The back trail leading from the Nature Center to Thoreau Pond is often stocked with migrants including warblers, vireos, flycatchers, and thrushes. As well, the Goldenrod Trail to the SE of the Nature Center is a good place to find migrants on the edges of the open meadow. If you happen to go on a poor day for migration, at least you’re guaranteed to see the Wild Turkeys that wander the Park!
Diana Steele – Northeast Regional Director
Oberlin Preserve/Prairie – Lorain County
With a small parking lot at 46785 W Hamilton St, Oberlin, the Preserve has two eBird hotspots, one for the prairie, “Oberlin Prairie” and one for the woods, “Oberlin South Woods.” The woods can also be accessed from the cul de sac at 401 Reserve Avenue in Oberlin. A former railroad right-of-way runs north-south along the eastern edge of the property, providing access to several places with different types of bird habitat.
I’ve enjoyed winnowing snipes, serenading meadowlarks, hunting great horned owls, and my COVID spirit animal, solitary sandpipers. This property promises only to improve as the prairie matures, and WRLC has plans to create additional walking paths through the woods. I’ll be there watching to see which new birds discover it.