Focus on Funk Bottoms

Photo by Ken Ostermiller

Funk Bottoms in Wayne County has been designated by the National Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area (IBA). This IBA consists of 2,000 acres of floodplain bottoms: intermittent wetlands and mostly scrub/shrub fields, with some permanent restored wetlands. The Funk Bottoms Wildlife Area is the main source of habitat. The adjacent areas are largely agricultural and include a peat farm. The area has an observation tower. The region undergoes extensive bottomland flooding in March and April.

There are three eBird hotspots in the Wildlife Area. All these locations are in Wayne County.

Funk Bottoms Wildlife Area
Funk Bottoms Wildlife Area–Angling Rd.
Funk Bottoms Wildlife Area–Funk Rd.

There are additional eBird Hotspots in the vicinity of Funk Bottoms Wildlife Area in Wayne and Ashland counties.

Wayne County
Clay Plant Rd.
Fairview Cemetery, Shreve
Schwartzwalder Rd.
Wilderness Rd.

Ashland County
Ashland County Road 1950
Cool Springs Conservation Park
Hopkins Landing
Mohicanville Dam
Mohicanville Dam–Mohican Township Road 2250

All of these locations are worth visiting. One way to visit a few of them is to follow the Funk Bottoms Birding Drive. Thanks to the Ohio Ornithological Society and Su Snyder for describing this route.

Observation Tower and OH-95
The observation tower is located from an access road on OH-95. Birds can often be observed at the edge of the marsh along OH-95. This is a very busy state highway and it is not safe to stop on the roadway. There are three pull-off areas on the south side of OH-95 which can accommodate 1 or 2 vehicles. The is also one pull-off area on the north side of the highway.

From the State Highway Patrol regarding bird watching along OH-95: “Please park on pull-offs or completely off the paved road in level gravel areas on south side of the road, roadside parking on the north side is prohibited.”

Wilderness Road
While not within the wildlife area itself, Wilderness Road is adjacent to Funk Bottoms Wildlife Area. The fields and ponds on Wilderness Road west of the intersection with Elyria Road are worth checking in all seasons.

At the east end of Wilderness Road near a bridge, there are several peat pits on the north side of the road which often are drawn down in the fall to mine peat. The drawdown of water can create extensive mud flats which attract many shorebirds. Depending on water levels, the fields on the south side of the Wilderness Road near the bridge can also hold waterfowl and shorebirds.

The peat pits on Wilderness Road are privately owned by an Amish man who loves birds and birders and therefore has welcomed birders to bird from the two dirt lanes on the east and west sides of the pits. These lanes are maintained by the company mining the peat. This company has also welcomed and been extremely gracious to birders. The only requests of the landowner and mining company are that birders stay on the dirt paths, not block the roadways, and give preference and a wide berth to any workers in the area.

Further west on Wilderness Road, across from and just west of a farmhouse, the fields often flood and then dry up, producing habitat for migrating shorebirds. A scope is helpful in viewing birds all along Wilderness Road.

What’s New–June 1, 2019

New Focus On . . .

The Funk Bottoms Important Bird Area in Wayne County has offered some unusual shorebird sightings this spring. Check the latest Focus On . . . blog
Focus on Funk Bottoms

New eBird Hotspots

Greene County

Gravel Pit Road
Thanks to Gabby Loomis-Amrhein for suggesting this hotspot. The agricultural fields on Gravel Pit Road between Wildman Road and Oglesbee Road can form skypools during wet weather and host ducks, geese, and shorebirds. The roads in this area traverse privately owned lands. Please view birds from the roadside only.

Lorain County

Avondale Avenue
Thanks to Parry McKelvey for suggesting and providing a description of this hotspot in Avon Lake near Miller Road Park and south of the Avon Lake Power Plant.

Lucas County

Stranahan Arboretum
Thanks to Anthony Marino for suggesting this hotspot which is managed by the University of Toledo.

Warren County

Caesar Creek Lake Wildlife Area–New Burlington Road
Thanks to Lee Funderburg for suggesting this new hotspot in the Caesar Creek Important Bird Area
There is another hotspot in the wildlife area on New Burlington Road. We have adjusted the name of that hotspot to:
Caesar Creek Lake Wildlife Area–Burlington Ridge


Lorain County

Black River Reservation–Bridgeway Trail
Black River Reservation–Steel Mill Trail
Thanks to an observant birder, we discovered that we had two hotspots on the Steel Mill Trail which have now been combined. When the reservation was being developed the new trail was named “Bridgeway” and entered into eBird as a hotspot. Birders found Lark Sparrows nesting along this trail. In 2008 the trail was extended north. The north section was named “Steel Mill Trail” and was entered into eBird as a hotspot. The Bridgeway Trail became the name for the southern section of the trail system. Your reviewer did not realize that the older “Bridgeway” hotspot was no longer on the Bridgeway Trail and both hotspots have been been used to report the Lark Sparrows.

A new hotspot has been created for the Bridgeway Trail. The Days Dam Trailhead on East 31st Street divides the two trails. The Steel Mill Trail is north of Days Dam, the Bridgeway Trail is south of Days Dam.

Washington County

Derby Road and Buchanan Road
Thanks to Terry Bronson for providing a description and tips for birding these roads in Washington County.

Wayne County

Funk Bottoms Wildlife Area–Angling Road
The name of this hotspot has been changed to make it a sub-location in Funk Bottoms Wildlife Area. A parking area has been added on the south side of Angling Road west of Elyria Road which provides access to a formerly land-locked section of the wildlife area.

Wyandot County

Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area
Added a map with all the hotspots in the wildlife area.

Top Birding Locations in Ohio

On the home page, updated the Ohio top 35 birding locations (most species reported).

On each county page, updated the top birding locations with 100 or more species reported.

What’s New–May 25, 2019

New eBird Hotspots

Turkey Creek Metropark
Photo by Kim Nordquest

Ashtabula County

Turkey Creek Metropark
Thanks to Kim Nordquest for suggesting this hotspot, providing a photo tour, and tips for birding there. Please note that this Metropark is in Ohio but is accessed from Pennsylvania via the State Line Road.

Auglaize County

Grand Lake Saint Marys State Park–Harmons Landing
Thanks to Josh King for suggesting this additional hotspot in Grand Lake Saint Marys State Park and in the St. Marys River-Grand Lake Important Bird Area

Greene County

Glen Forest Cemetery
Thanks to Gabby Loomis-Amrhein for suggesting this hotspot in Greene County.

Zane Landing Park

Muskingum County

Lock Ten Park
Zane Landing Park
These two new hotspots are located in Zanesville.

Holmes County

Redett Road, Fredericksburg
Redett Road in Holmes County is a good place to look for grassland birds. This road traverses privately owned properties. Please view birds from the roadside only.

Ottawa County

Dodge Woods Preserve
Thanks to Carly Wainwright for suggesting this hotspot on South Bass Island and in the Lake Erie Western Basin Important Bird Area

Stark County

Berlin Lake–Teel Avenue
Thanks to Kent Miller for the tip that this is a good place to watch for nesting Prothonotary Warblers. Berlin Lake is in the Berlin Lakes System Important Bird Area.


Barnside Creamery Parking Lot
Photo by Ken Ostermiller

Ottawa County

OH-2 @ OH-19
Added photos of the view from the Barnside Creamery parking lot.

Focus on Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Photo by Susan Carpenter

Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) protects over 33,000 acres along the banks of the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. CVNP combines cultural, historical, and natural resources and visitor activities in one setting. CVNP is managed by the National Park Service, a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The park is straddles two counties, Cuyahoga and Summit, and is surrounded by 15 cities, villages and townships; 7 school districts and 2 metropolitan park districts. The National Audubon Society has designated the river corridor through the National Park as the Cuyahoga Valley National Park-Lower Cuyahoga River Important Bird Area.

If you are visiting the area for the first time and want to watch birds, it can be a confusing place. There are 30 eBird hotspots in the park itself and that doesn’t count the metropolitan park district eBird hotspots which are scattered throughout the area. How can you decide where to go?

Bird Watching at its Best

Click on the link above to view a brochure from the National Park listing 5 excellent bird watching locations in the park. Any (or all) of these locations are good places to go on a first visit to the area.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Birding Drive

If you have a bit more time and want more variety, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Birding Drive provides driving directions and links to visiting 9 locations in the National Park.

Day Hikes in the National Park

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park has several locations where you can hike and do bird watching. Check these locations within the national park.
Cuyahoga County day hikes:
Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail
Station Road Trails (Cuyahoga County)

Summit County day hikes:
Brandywine Gorge Trail
Boston Run Trail
Everett Road Covered Bridge Trails
Ira Road Beaver Marsh Towpath Trail
Oak Hill Trails
Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail
Ritchie Ledges Area Trails
Station Road Trails (Summit County)
Virginia Kendall Lake Trails
Wetmore Tails

Tips for birding Cuyahoga Valley National Park

For even more tips on birding in this National Park, below are links to pages on websites:
From Cuyahoga Valley National Park website
From BirdWatchingDaily website

All the eBird Hotspots

Check these pages in this website:
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Lists all the eBird hotspots within the National Park.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park-Lower Cuyahoga River Important Bird Area
Lists all the eBird hotspots along the Lower Cuyahoga River within the National Park and metropolitan park districts.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Website

Cuyahoga Valley National Park website
Cuyahoga Valley National Park map
Cuyahoga Valley National Park trail maps

About Google Maps on this website

Tips for using Google Maps

On most pages in this website there is an embedded Google Map showing the location of the hotspot. You can interact with most of these maps.
+ You can zoom in or out on the map to get a different view. Use the plus or minus links on the lower right of the map to zoom in or out. You can also use your mouse scroll wheel (desktop computer) or pinch with your fingers on a touch screen.
+ You can drag the map with your mouse or finger to move the map.
+ You can switch from satellite to map view by using the icon at the lower left of the map.
+ You can click on “View larger map” to open the map in a new window or tab. This will allow you to use all of the Google Map features, such as getting directions to the hotspot from your present location. If you are using your smartphone and have Google Maps app installed, this switches to the app. Very handy!

On some pages, where I wanted to add information, I have created an image of the map with the information included. You cannot zoom in or out. You can, however, click on the map to open the location in a new tab or window.