We first scheduled this unique field trip two years ago and it has proved to be quite popular and successful. If you have never been to these locations you are in for a surprise.
Located about 20 miles east of Milford and just south of US 50 is the 1800 acre Indian Creek State Wildlife Area (SWA), a little known but wonderful hidden gem that can teem with birds and other wildlife. Woodlands, weedy and brushy fields, many marshy ponds, wooded riparian Indian Creek and a managed wetland create a multitude of habitats which in turn attract a diversity of birds and other species. This quiet and little visited area has miles of quiet gravel roads which makes for easy access and walking. Breeding birds should be diverse and abundant
About 10 mile further east, also just south of US 50, are several old quarries and gravel pits known as Highland Stone. These pits are filled with water, creating large ponds which are surrounded by grassy fields and brushy edges, plunked right down in the middle of farm country. The adjacent gravel roads are quiet and seldom used and make access to the area easy. The bird life here is outstanding and is a great example of how little known unprotected areas such as gravel pits can be magnets for wildlife.
Both spots provide excellent birding at any season. The ponds at Highland Stone are magnets for waterfowl and other water birds. Since this trip is scheduled during June we don’t expect to find too much on the water. But the focus here will be on grassland species. The grassy, weedy fields found at Highland Stone are great for a number of grassland species that are otherwise scarce to absent over much of our region. Some open country species we found on previous trips, and which we expect to find again, include; Northern Bobwhite, Blue Grosbeak, Dickcissel, Lark Sparrow, Henslow’s Sparrows, Grasshopper Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows and Bobolink among others.
Our trip leader, Bill Stanley, is a very skilled and veteran birder who knows these areas very well. We will meet Bill at the Fayetteville Marathon Station (see directions below) and caravan from there. Bill is undecided at this date in which order he will visit these two areas. Both spots are easily accessed off of US 50 and only about a 15 minute drive from one another. Expect some easy and level walking on this trip, especially at Indian Creek, but Bill will also do some drive and stopping as well, particularly at Highland Stone.
Bill figures this trip will run a bit past noon, or even longer if the birding is good. Walking will be on level ground and at a moderate pace. It can be hot in June so you may want to bring water, sun screen, insect repellent and a hat to make your trip more comfortable. There won’t be an “official” lunch break but there will be ample time for you to snack, so you may want to bring food and drinks along. Bill will plan restroom stops along the way. There is a restroom at our meeting location and several primitive facilities at Indian Creek. There are no restrooms at Highland Stone. Feel Free to contact Bill if you have any questions.
We will meet at 8:00 a.m. at the Marathon Gas & Food Mart in Fayetteville, Ohio. Directions:
From I-275 at the Milford Parkway/US 50 Exit # 59, take US 50 east for about 20 miles to the intersection of US 68 in Fayetteville, Ohio. The Marathon Station is located on the NW corner. Meet in the Parking Lot but park away from the front doors if possible.
Indian Creek SWA website: