The theme of this trip will be a diverse summer nature walk in a unique reclaimed natural area. Join skilled naturalist Joe Bens for what will prove to be a very interesting summer morning visit to the Kilby Road Nature Preserve, a Great Parks/Hamilton County Park District property. Joe, an expert birder, also has a great knowledge of plants, butterflies and other wildlife and is the perfect guide for a general nature trip of this type.
The Kilby Nature Preserve was once the site of a gravel mining operation along the banks of the Whitewater River. After they were abandoned, the Hamilton County Park District decided to purchase the area and reclaim it as a natural area. We can be glad they did, as the area has become a wildlife magnet with a diverse flora and fauna. The habitat in this sizable tract is for the most part open country. Grassland, weedy fields and brushy copses, interspersed with several large ponds (left over from the mining operation), all lie along the riparian corridor of the picturesque Whitewater River. Many grass and weed species will be in bloom on this date and butterflies and dragonflies should be abundant. This is a great area for dragonflies; two species of dragonflies have been found here that otherwise have not been found anywhere else in Ohio. Many breeding birds will still be around on this date too, but they can become less conspicuous in the late summer. Most of the birds that breed here are open country species, but the ponds do attract some water birds and of course the Whitewater River is a north-south highway for many migratory species. Blue Grosbeaks, Orchard Orioles, Yellow-breasted Chats and Willow Flycatchers are just a few of the species that breed here. Hawks of several species are common, Bald Eagles nest nearby and Ospreys might be seen. The unique habitat here even attracted a rare Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher a few years ago.
We will meet at the Park & Ride and caravan to this location, about a 10 minute drive. Joe plans on taking a leisurely walk throughout the area, stopping often to observe the diverse and abundant nature of the area. The area is crisscrossed with dirt and gravel roads, so walking easy. The terrain is relatively flat for the most part, but be aware that this is a walking trip and we will be on our feet for 3 or 4 hours. Temperatures can soar at this time of year and we can expect it to be quite hot by midday. We suggest that you wear a hat and bring sunscreen, insect repellant and water with you to make your visit more comfortable. There are no restrooms available at this location. This trip will end a little after noon. Feel free to contact Joe if you have any questions.
We will meet at 9:00 a.m. at the Park & Ride lot, located on SR 128 at the I-275 Exit # 7 marked Cleves-Hamilton. This is the first exit just west of the Great Miami River at Miamitown. The Park & Ride is located along SR 128 and wedged in between the expressway and the exit ramp. We will caravan from there to the Kilby Road Nature Preserve, about a 10 minute drive. Call or email Joe if you have any questions.