Logan County Birding Drive

Ohio Birding Drives
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.

Logan County Birding Drive
Click on the hotspot names below to view the page about that hotspot.

Logan County is one of Ohio’s “under-birded” counties (fewer than 1000 eBird checklists). This Birding Drive explores eBird hotspots in the county. When you submit checklists here you help to add to the data about birds in this region of Ohio.

Logan County

Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve
County Road 152
East Liberty, Ohio 43319

From US-33 east, take the OH-292 exit toward East Liberty and Valley Hi. Turn right on County Road 153 and follow 153 for 5 miles to Middleburg. Turn left onto Urbana Street and continue onto County Road 152. Arrive at Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve.

The 800-acre Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve, managed by The Nature Conservancy, encompasses a mixture of wetlands and streamside forests. Here, humble coldwater springs and streams emerge, forming the nourishing capillaries that are the lifeblood of Big Darby Creek’s permanent flow downstream.

These headwaters are fed by a complex of underground seeps, which contribute millions of gallons of clean, cold water to tributary streams of nearby Big Darby Creek.

These headwater streams, and the floodplains, forests, and wetlands around them, are important not only for their influence on water quality and hydrology in the Big Darby but also because they provide important habitat for plants and animals.

The preserve features a handicap-accessible trail and interpretive signage showcasing the importance of the headwaters to people and wildlife.

Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve is open year-round, dawn to dusk.
From Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve webpage

Myeerah Nature Preserve
Myeerah Nature Preserve–Wetland

7405 OH-540
Bellefontaine, Ohio 43311

From Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve, take OH-287 .4 miles to OH-347. Turn left onto OH-347 and follow it for 3.7miles. Turn left onto C-154, turn left on Foundry Road, and turn right onto OH-292 north. Drive 3.9 miles and turn left onto OH-540. Follow OH-540 for 2.1 miles to Myeerah Nature Preserve.

Myeerah Nature Preserve is a unique patchwork of woodlands in west-central Ohio. It includes rolling hills with managed meadows, second growth-mature woodlots, dissected deep ravines lined by slate rock creeks, a 10-acre pond and a half-acre pond.

McCracken Fen State Nature Preserve
4140 Township Road 32 South
West Liberty, Ohio 43357

From Myeerah Nature Preserve, follow OH-540 west for 4.2 miles and turn left onto County Road 5 south. Follow County Road 5 for 7.7 miles and turn right onto Township Highway 190. Follow Township Highway 190 until you reach US-68. Cross US-68 and proceed on 1.2 miles west on Township Highway 190 which turns sharply left and becomes County Road 32 South, where a small pull-off is provided for parking.

McCracken Fen is situated in the Farmersville moraine which contains several spring-fed glacial kettles. Up until the early 1980’s, the kettle at McCracken Fen contained unbroken deposits of peat covered by shrub fen. In the early 1980’s peat and marl deposits were mined, leaving several open water areas and deep troughs and ridges. In addition, large gravel piles were constructed to the east of the basin, creating an area where the mined peat could dry. Despite this disturbance, several areas of the original fen community were not mined, and additional rare species were released from the seed bank where mining occurred. At least 17 rare plant species have been documented here, including Smith’s bulrush (Schoenoplectus smithii), swamp birch (Betula pumila), and green spikerush (Eleocharis flavescnes). McCracken fen is also home to a population of the state endangered lilypad forktail damselfly (Ischnura kellicotti).
From McCracken Fen State Nature Preserve webpage

Plum Cemetery
County Road 54
Lewistown, Ohio 43333

From McCracken Fen, drive north on County Road 32 for .6 miles and turn left onto Township Highway 186. Go .5 miles and turn right on Township Road 187 and then make a slight right onto County Road 18. Go .5 miles and continue on County Road 43. Follow Country Road 43 for 5.9 miles. Continue straight on Hostetler Road for .3 miles. Turn right on OH-235 and drive 6.6 miles. Turn left onto Country Road 54 and arrive at Plum Cemetery in .4 miles.

Plum Cemetery has been lightly birded but 83 species of birds have been reported here. The species count for this location will grow as more birders submit checklists here.

Indian Lake State Park–Old Field
Lakeview, Ohio 43331

From Plum Cemetery, drive east on County Road 54 for .4 miles. Turn left onto OH-235 for 6.2 miles. Turn right into Indian Lake State Park and drive to Old Field Beach.

Indian Lake State Park is in scattered sections around Indian Lake. This birding drive visits Old Field Beach and Pew Island. Begin by viewing the lake and birds in the area of Old Field Beach.

The region of Indian Lake was originally a cluster of natural lakes situated on the Miami River. As the continental glaciers left Ohio, chunks of ice broke free, melted, and formed water-filled depressions called kettle lakes. The resultant shallow, marshy, natural lakes in this region covered an area of 640 acres. Among these were Old Indian Lake, Otter Lake, Blake Lake, Sheep Pen Lake and the Buck Wheat Patch.

The present, and much larger, lake lies along one of the country’s major avian migration routes. Indian Lake is an important resting stop for birds such as Canada geese, ducks, grebes, swans, egrets, and herons. Many stay over the summer to nest.
From Indian Lake State Park website

Indian Lake State Park–Pew Island
From Old Field Beach, return to OH-235. Turn right on OH-235 and follow to US-33. Turn left onto US-33 and drive 2.2 miles. Turn left onto Lincoln Boulevard (OH-366). Follow OH-366 for 4.7 miles and turn right onto Pew Island.

Pew Island has an interesting little gravel trail surrounding two settling ponds used to filter dredging liquid and a small boardwalk over some marshy areas. During hunting season, the boardwalk is blocked off but the detour is still a good walk. There is a surprising variety of birds for such a small space, probably a lot more in spring migration. Climb the hill to see containment ponds where there is possible shorebird habitat in dry weather.
From Steve Jones