Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve–Zimmerman Trail

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Lake County

Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve–Zimmerman Trail
Coordinates: 41.744677, -81.297247
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Ohio Birding Day Hike
Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve Trails

Tips for birding Zimmerman Trail
Zimmerman Trail skirts the north edge of the marsh, where hikers may come across some of the region’s biggest oak trees. In May, the slopes of the upland forest floor are laced with trillium in full white bloom, blood-colored wake robins, pale spring beauties and velvety wild ginger.
From Mentor Marsh information (Hiking Ohio Parks)

Tips for birding Mentor Marsh
Mentor Marsh is a stop on the Lake Erie Birding Trail.

Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve was Ohio’s first state nature preserve and the only remaining natural marsh along Ohio’s Lake Erie shore. It is being restored to remove invasive phragmites and return native marsh plants. The Wake Robin Trail boardwalk is an excellent place to find Virginia and Sora Rails, bitterns, Marsh and Sedge Wren and a wide variety of sparrow species including Nelson’s and LeConte’s. Zimmerman Trail offers upland forests which attract a variety of migrant songbirds.
From Birding Lake County’s Often Overlooked Birding Hotspots by Haans Petruschke

About Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve
+ Emergent marsh
+ Wildlife viewing
+ Parking
+ Visitor Center
+ 4-mile trail system including boardwalk trail and observation deck

Mentor Marsh, designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1966, occupies an ancient abandoned channel of the Grand River. A beech-sugar maple forest occupies the higher elevations bordering the marsh. At the eastern edge of the preserve, there is a mixed oak swamp forest, a forest type destroyed in most parts of the Lake Erie region. The most extensive plant community type is an emergent wetland dominated by reed-grass or Phragmites. This is the largest Phragmites marsh in Ohio. The area provides habitat for a diversity of wildlife species. Located in Lake County, 3.5 miles west on OH-283 from Painesville, proceed .5 mile north on Corduroy Road to the Mentor Marsh House.

The best access point to the marsh is via the Wake Robin Trail, which includes a boardwalk. Recent restoration efforts have increased plant diversity along the trail, and this is the place to try for Le Conte’s and Nelson’s sparrows. A nature center, the Mentor Marsh House, is located at 5185 Corduroy Road, just east of the marsh. Consult the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for hours of operation and upcoming programs.

Interesting birding can be had year round, but fall may be the most productive season. Lots of sparrows of many species frequent the marsh vegetation, sometimes threatened by patrolling Merlins. Warblers of many species can be found in the trees that border the marsh, along with a diversity of other songbirds. Rails and other marsh birds skulk amongst the Phragmites, including both species of bitterns.
From Mentor Marsh State Nature Preserve webpage

No restroom facilities.