Buckeye Lake State Park–Fairfield Beach Area
eBird Bar Charts by Season
Tips for birding Fairfield Beach Area
The Fairfield Beach area is probably the single best area of the park for birding. It has several parking areas as well as restrooms.
The easternmost section, at the end of Rosewood Road, although connected to the mainland is referred to as Gibson Island. It has a number of older trees in which many woodpecker species have been observed. Bald Eagles have also been seen perched in trees on occasion. The area provides a view of beaches on nearby Beach Island and the mainland just east, on which shorebirds have been seen, in addition to herons, waterfowl, and vultures. Osprey have been seen in trees just east of this area.
The park beach is just west of Gibson Island and sometimes has waterfowl nearby, despite a recent pilot project using trained dogs to discourage geese.
Just west of the beach, at the end of Pine Road, is a peninsula bordered by trees, with scrubby areas in the middle and an inlet with docks at the south end. Walking the perimeter of this peninsula is often productive of sparrows, flycatchers, and other species. Osprey perch at times in some trees, and on several days a female Merlin was seen. The inlet often has some waterfowl, and one or more Green Herons are frequently seen in the inlet (especially along the west side) or around the docks. On some days, numerous swallows are present.
From Jeff Roth
About Buckeye Lake
Buckeye Lake was the center of Milton Trautman’s 1922-1934 study of a 44-square-mile patch of east-central Ohio. His most important work was the monumental Birds of Buckeye Lake (1940, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor), which James L. Peters described as the most comprehensive study of the bird life of a limited area in the United States. This book is much more than its title promises. It offers not just the usual report on local birds but a detailed account of the natural history of a region from glacial times to the present.
About Buckeye Lake State Park
At one time, the ground now known as Buckeye Lake was swampland resulting from glaciation. Thousands of years ago the glaciers moved south across Ohio altering drainage systems and landscape. Natural lakes, known as kettles, were created when huge chunks of ice broke off the glacier and melted in depressions. Other lakes were formed when the glacier blocked existing water outlets. As time progressed, clay and silt settled out of the still water into the bottom of the lakes.
Today as we study the landscape, we can learn of the old lake locations by the nature of the underlying clay and silt. The large area of fine clay sediment in the Buckeye Lake region indicates that the glacial lake was broader than the present constructed lake.
When whites began settling in Ohio, only a few of the ancient lakes remained. They were shallow and swampy, and more correctly classified as bogs or marshes. Explorer Christopher Gist, while traveling the Scioto-Beaver Trail just south of Buckeye Lake, camped by the watery bog’s edge. In 1751, he named the area Buffalo Lick or Great Swamp in his journal. The Great Swamp included two long narrow ponds that were joined during high water. A considerable part of the wetland was a cranberry-sphagnum bog. Cranberry Bog, a state nature preserve and a National Natural Landmark, is situated in Buckeye Lake. When the lake was impounded in 1826, Cranberry Bog broke loose from the bottom and became a floating island which may conceivably be the only one of its kind in the world. Most of the island is an open sphagnum moss meadow with an abundance of cranberries and pitcher plants making the area a naturalist’s delight. Access to the island is by permit only from the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves.
Buckeye Lake’s shoreline offers excellent habitat for waterfowl. Good bird-watching opportunities exist especially during the spring and fall migrations. One of the state’s largest great blue heron rookeries is situated on adjacent private land, but the birds can often be seen in the park.
From Buckeye Lake State Park webpage
Restrooms at three public beaches — Crystal Beach, Fairfield Beach, and Brooks Park Beach.
Handicap access facilities at Crystal Beach.