The theme of this field trip will be looking for wintering and spring migrant waterfowl and other water birds along the Lower Great Miami River from Ross, Ohio south to the Oxbow. But this field trip will also have a direct tie in with our February program; “Birding in the Pits” (See the February program article elsewhere in this newsletter). The lower Great Miami River and Whitewater River are actually lined with many dozens of gravel and “borrow” pits that are attractive to migrant and wintering waterfowl and a host of other species. Some of these pits are private and cannot be accessed, but some can be seen into. Others are owned by public conservation organizations and are open to the public. All of them, at times, can be productive birding hotspots.
Our trip leader, Joe Bens, is a skilled and veteran birder, naturalist and long time ASO advocate. Joe has been birding these areas for almost 40 years and knows most of the nooks and crannies along the Great Miami and Whitewater Rivers. Joes plan is to bird several of these “pits” and other sites beginning around Ross, Ohio then caravanning down river, stopping at several sites along the way and eventually ending up in the Oxbow. Many of these sites are well known; Fernald Preserve, Campbell Lakes, Kilby Ponds, Lost Bridge and some spots around the Oxbow. But Joe has several other interesting and not so well known spots that he intends to visit.
We expect to find many species of waterfowl (ducks, geese and swans) as well as other water birds such as grebes, gulls, coots etc. Bald Eagles and other raptors should be easily found as well as numbers of wintering and early migrant songbirds.
This trip will consist mostly of driving from spot to spot and spending some time at each looking for birds. Be warned, it will likely be cold and damp so wear good waterproof footwear and dress warmly. Binoculars will be necessary if you expect to see birds well. If you have scopes, bring them. Restroom stops will be made. This trip should end a bit after noon. If you have any questions feel free to contact Joe.
Directions to our meeting spot: To get to Fernald Preserve from I-275 take I-275 Exit # 7 at SR 128 marked Cleves-Hamilton. This is the first exit just west of the Great Miami River at Miamitown. Go north on SR 128 through Miamitown for 7 miles to Willey Road. Turn left on Willey Road and go ¼ mile to the Fernald Preserve entrance road. Follow the entrance road to the Visitor Center.
Go to the following Fernald Preserve website for directions: