The focus of this trip will be looking for early spring migrant birds as well as early blooms of a number of plants in both the wetlands and woodlands of Miami Whitewater Forest. Our trip leader, Charlie Saunders, is a skilled and veteran birder, experienced naturalist and long time ASO advocate. In addition to birds Charlie has a great interest in botany and is curious as to what we might find blooming on this early spring date.
Charlie plans to meet in the parking lot of the MWW Forest parking lot (meet and Restroom stop) and then head over to the Shaker Trace wetland. The plan is to walk a complete circuit of the wetlands, so be prepared for a bit of walking on bare earth trails. Charlie will give equal attention to the birds and plants we find along the way. Waterfowl should be abundant and a few other wetland species such as grebes, snipe, Northern Harrier and even Sandhill Cranes are likely to be seen. Wintering sparrows and early spring migrant song birds such as Rusty Blackbirds and first of the season species like Brown Thrasher can also be expected.
From the wetlands Charlie plans to visit a wooded section of the Park where the primary focus will be to see if any spring wildflowers have made an appearance yet. And of course Charlie will not ignore any birds we find in that habitat as well.
This trip will last until around noon. There are no restrooms available at the Shaker Trace wetlands but there are many located throughout the main Park. Mid-March can still be very cold and wet, so dress accordingly and chose footwear wisely as we will be walking on some damp and wet trails. A Hamilton County Parks Motor Vehicle Permit is required at Miami Whitewater ($10 annual, $3 daily). Feel free to call Charlie if you have any questions.
Directions: To get to the MWW Visitor Center which is located in northwestern Hamilton County, take I-74 Exit # 3, Dry Fork Road. Go north on Dry Fork for 1 mile to West Road. Turn right onto West Road, go .2 of a mile crossing a small bridge and turn left at the Park entrance/Timberlakes Drive. Follow Timberlakes Drive for .6 of a mile and turn left onto Harbor Ridge Drive and follow it to the Visitor Center parking Lot.