Spring Valley & Caesar Creek

Join our trip leader Ann Oliver for what should be a great day of spring birding in one of our region’s best bird-ing sites. Ann Oliver is a long-time conservationist and birder, a past president of the Cincinnati Bird Club, and a volunteer for a number of local and state organizations. Her interests range from natural history to travel to Flamenco dancing, and she and her husband are avid music fans and supporters of local and regional musicians and artists. You will never run out of things to talk about when you’re birding with Ann! We’re pleased to have Ann as a leader. Spring migration will be well under way on this date and birds should be abundant. (Though as this is being written it is snowing … but it will warm up).

Our destination for this trip is located in the extreme northeast corner of Warren County, Ohio. Spring Valley Wildlife Area (SVWA) is made up of 842 acres of riparian woodland, fields and brushy areas situated along the banks of the upper Little Miami River. It is noted for its excellent marsh (150 acres) and wetlands and rep-resents one of the few remaining large wetlands in our region. The nearby Caesar Creek State Park has over 7900 acres of varied habitat including a 2830 acre lake.

Ann plans to begin the trip at the swimming beach at Caesar Creek State Park and expects to find a few species that are easier to find here than at Spring Valley later in the morning. These would include loons, gulls, terns and a few shorebirds. On the drive from the Caesar Creek beach to SVWA, Ann plans to stop at the Waynesville McDonalds restaurant for coffee and a restroom break.

Ann plans to spend the rest of the morning walking the trails and the boardwalk around and through the marsh and woodlands at SVWA. The trail is a loop of over a mile but is level for the most part. Parts of the trail can be wet (we are in a marsh after all), so wear appropriate footwear. Ann has had great success attracting rails along the boardwalk in the marsh and we expect to get some good looks at Sora and Virginia Rails. Many migrant and returning resident songbirds, including warblers, will have arrived by this date. Other species that can be expected on this trip include rails, bitterns, waders, shorebirds, marsh birds, terns, loons, waterfowl, several species of hawks, including eagles and osprey (both of which nest in the area) and a diverse number of song birds. If time allows, Ann may take a look at the nearby and usually productive Roxanna gravel pits as well.

April is always a great time to be out birding, so consider joining Ann for what we expect will be a really great spring day. The trip will end sometime in the early afternoon, so pack a lunch and plan accordingly. Caesar Creek SP has plenty of restroom facilities but Spring Valley only offers primitive accommodations. Feel free to contact Ann if you have any questions.

Directions: To get to the Caesar Creek State Park swimming beach from Cincinnati, take I-71 north to the State Route 73 exit # 45. Turn left/west onto Rt. 73 and go about 5 miles. After crossing the Rt. 73 Bridge over Caesar Creek Lake, turn right at the State Park entrance and follow the signs to the swimming beach parking lot.

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