Clear Fork Reservoir Birding Drive
Ohio Birding Drives are routes for birding trips which can be accomplished in one day, stopping to walk and bird at various eBird hotspots. For each birding drive, a Google map is provided with the route and suggested stops at eBird hotspots. You may save the link to the Google map on your smartphone or tablet, or print a copy on paper to take with you. Links are provided with information about each eBird hotspot. Follow those links for more information about birding each location.
Click on the hotspot names below to view the page about that hotspot.
This Birding Drive explores eBird hotspots around Clear Fork Reservoir in Morrow and Richland Counties. When you submit checklists here you help to add to the data about birds in this region of Ohio.
Clear Fork Reservoir is located in Richland and Morrow counties, approximately 8 miles southwest of Mansfield along OH-97. See the placement of the county line on the map at the bottom of the right column.
Clear Fork Reservoir was completed in 1949. The city of Mansfield constructed this 971-acre reservoir as a water supply lake.
Clear Fork Reservoir has a gently sloping bottom with a maximum depth of 24 feet. The upper end is shallow with numerous tree stumps. Several islands characterize the mid-lake area while the lower end is deeper and open.
From Clear Fork Reservoir webpage
Clear Fork Reservoir–East (Richland County)
Mansfield, Ohio 44904
From Mansfield, drive southwest on Lexington Avenue (US-42) for 2 miles. Turn right onto West Cook Road and drive 3.3 miles. Turn left onto Lexington Springmill Road for .2 mile. Turn right onto Owens Road and go 1 mile. Turn right onto Lexington Ontario Road and arrive at Clear Creek Reservoir in .4 mile.
The eastern section of the Clear Creek Reservoir in Richland County can be viewed from the parking area on Lexington Ontario Road just north of Gass Road. A spotting scope is helpful in viewing distant birds. The eastern section can also be viewed from the opposite side of the reservoir from the Mansfield Sailing Club property on OH-97. Park, pulling well off the road, outside the gate and walk in to the shore. A scope is helpful from this location.
Clear Fork Reservoir–Picnic Area #1
Clear Fork Reservoir–Picnic Area #2
From the intersection of Lexington Ontario Road with Gass Road, drive south on Gass Road for .7 mile. turn right onto OH-97 west and drive .6 mile. The entrances to Picnic Areas #1 and #2 are on the right.
There are three picnic areas on the south side of the Clear Fork Reservoir. Picnic Areas #1 and #2 are in Richland County. Picnic Area #3 is in Morrow County. Each picnic area provides views of the lake. They are all open during the summer. Some may be closed and gated in the offseason.
Clear Fork Reservoir–Southwest (Morrow County)
Clear Fork Reservoir–Picnic Area #3
Picnic Area #3 is about 1 mile west on OH-97. The western section on this side of the reservoir from Picnic Area #3 to the Marina is in Morrow County.
Clear Fork Reservoir–Marina
From Picnic Area #3 continue west on OH-97 for .9. The Clear Fork Marina and Campground are on the right.
The Marina on the west end of the lake in Morrow County has a campground. This is a busy place in the summer. It provides views of this end of the lake in late fall, winter, and early spring during the “off season.”
From the Clear Fork Marina, drive west on OH-97 for .1 mile. Turn right onto Bowers Road and drive 1.3 miles. Turn right onto Orweiler Road and arrive at the Orweiler Road Marsh in .2 mile. Orweiler Road Marsh is in Richland County.
Ohio Bird Sanctuary
3774 Orweiler Road
Mansfield, Ohio 44903
From the Orweiler Road Marsh, continue east on Orweiler Road for .3 mile. Turn left and arrive at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary.
The Ohio Bird Sanctuary is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the rehabilitation of Ohio’s native birds of prey and songbirds, with an emphasis on educating the community about conservation of our natural resources.
The Bird Sanctuary is open to the public and encompasses over 90 acres and includes; hiking trails, live bird of prey displays, and a walk-through songbird aviary. Visitors can purchase a small cup of mealworms in the Visitor Center and hand feed the aviary residents.
From Ohio Bird Sanctuary website
Clear Fork Reservoir–Northwest (Richland County)
Clear Fork Reservoir–Marion Avenue Access
From the Ohio Bird Sanctuary, turn left and drive east on Orweiler Road for .7 mile. Turn right onto Marion Avenue Road and drive .8 mile. Park at the end of Marion Avenue Road and walk to the reservoir to view birds. Birds on this side of the western section of Clear Fork Reservoir are in Richland County.