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 represents 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. These varied habitats attract a great diversity of species and make up one of our region’s best natural areas.
Why not lose any remnants of “cabin fever” and join our trip leader Joe Bens for what should be a great day of spring birding in one of our region’s best birding sites. Many of you know Joe as he has led many field trips for ASO as well as other birding and natural history organizations in our community. Joe is an exceptionally skilled birder and an experienced all around naturalist. And that’s a good thing, because spring migration will be near peak on this date and birds should be abundant. Botany is also at the top of Joe’s favorites list. Joe will surely keep us busy looking up and down and help us find and identify a diversity of birds and plants. Joe will know all the butterflies too.
Joe plans to meet and begin our day at the swimming beach at Caesar Creek State Park. This is an easy to find meeting spot, but the beach is a good place to find a few shorebirds (sandpipers and plovers), terns, gulls, loons and Osprey as well as many other species. It is amazing the number of rare species that seem to show up fairly regularly on this beach. From the beach Joe plans to caravan directly to the nearby Spring Valley Wildlife Area.
Joe plans to spend the rest of the morning leisurely walking the trail around the marsh and woodlands at SVWA, looking at birds, plants and other wildlife. The trail is a loop of over a little over 2 miles but is level for the most part. Parts of the trail can be damp and sometimes even a little wet in places (we are in a marsh after all), so wear appropriate footwear. The boardwalk in the marsh has been closed the past year or so and may still be closed, but we still hope to get some good looks at Sora and Virginia Rails along the marsh edges. Migrant and returning resident songbirds, including many species of warblers, should be plentiful, vocal and near peak on 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. We will also likely see reptiles, amphibians and a few mammals along the way. If time allows, Joe may take a look at the nearby and usually productive Roxanna gravel pits as well.
This is a great time of year to get out and Spring Valley SWA is a wonderful spot. 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. Binoculars are essential on this trip. Feel free to contact Joe 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. At this time of day it should be easy to find our group.
Spring Valley Wildlife Area Link
Caesar Creek State Park & Directions Link