Miller Road Park–Jetty

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Lorain County

Miller Rd. Park–Jetty
Coordinates: 41.5046184, -82.06107
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Tips for birding Avon Lake Power Plant
The municipal park comprises 14.7 acres of mowed grass and mature trees, a boat launch area, a hooked breakwall, and a concrete fishing pier. There are gazebos with picnic tables and some paved walkways. The park sits on a bluff overlooking the lake, and a four-foot high chain-link fence runs the length of the top of the bluff.

This location can be extraordinarily cold; wear your best gear in winter. Winds may leave the pier cloaked in ice, and ice on the ground in the park can be dangerous footing. Under certain conditions mist rising from the warm water will make viewing difficult, but least the sun is always at one’s back on the bluff during the colder months. Glare can be a problem on one side or another when viewing from the pier on sunny days. People going fishing, or even surfing, often use ‘unofficial’ entries to the beach, which is usually marked “No Trespassing,” to get to the outflow area, and spook gulls along the way, but the birds generally return after an interval.

This site reliably attracts significant numbers of gulls and waterfowl November through March, drawn here by the warm-water outflow from the power plant, which emerges in a channel bordered by breakwalls and then plumes west, where it is easily visible from the park. The northeast corner of the park, a short distance from the recommended parking area, is a good vantage point for studying gull roosts on the beach, the breakwalls, or the ice, and gulls and waterfowl in the water. When you are done there, bird west along the fence to a gate that allows access to the fishing pier, which offers other vistas. Current water levels have opened a narrow sand beach, accessible from the bluff; it is often counterproductive to go down to the beach to look at birds, as your approach causes them to withdraw.

Many of the gull species on the state list have been recorded here. Particularly noteworthy are the gatherings of the larger species during the coldest part of the winter, when Great and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, the “white-winged “ species such as Glaucous, Iceland, and Thayer’s Gulls, and the occasional rarity are most likely. Gatherings of diving ducks can be spectacular at this period as well. Snowy Owls sometimes hold vigils on the breakwalls, and jaegers show up from time to time. The spot is not worthwhile for passerines or shorebirds.

On first arriving, approach the lip of the bluff carefully, to avoid alarming birds that may be just below. Getting a good angle on all the birds may require choosing a spot with care, and adjusting the tripod to see over or through the fence. It may not always pay to walk to the very end of the pier, as birds in the water will often retreat as you advance.
From Ohio Ornithological Society

About Miller Road Park
The 17.7-acre Miller Road Park is on US-6 (Lake Road) northeast of the Miller Road intersection on the city of Avon Lake’s west side.

The park features a two-lane public boat launch accessible 24-hours a day. The launch is protected by two piers providing fishing access. The 550-foot west pier is made of limestone boulders, as is the 400-foot east pier, which is topped with a handicap accessible, paved concrete, lighted walkway. A 2002 grant from the Ohio Coastal Management Program funded, in part, the construction of a beach access ramp from the east pier down to the beach. The foot-friendly sand beach may run the length of the park’s property; however, the width and length vary with water levels.

Miller Road Park is adjacent to the west of a coal-fired power plant. The nearshore waters may be warmer than surrounding Lake Erie water. Temperature differences, shore structures, and nearshore profiles can cause currents here (see beach safety tips). Swimming is at one’s own risk.

The back beach is lined with a twenty-foot tall shale cliff. For safety, a chain link fence runs along the top of the cliff separating the bluff face from the park’s upper, partially shaded grass area. Amenities include picnic tables, grills, playgrounds, paved trails and two gazebos.

The park’s west parking lot has car-trailer parking. Additional car-only lots are along the east side of park property and US-6, which parallels the Back Roads and Beaches Bike Trail.

Restrooms at boat ramp. Portable toilet in the winter.
Handicap accessible jetty.