Medina County 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.
Medina County Birding Drive
Click on the hotspot names below to view the page about that hotspot.
Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary
6100 Ridge Road
Medina, Ohio 44256
From I-76 take Exit 9 for OH-94, turn north on OH-94 and drive 3.8 miles. At the traffic circle, take the second exit and stay on OH-94 for .7 mile. Turn left into the Alderfer-Oenslager Wildlife Sanctuary and go .4 mile to the parking lot for the Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Oenslager Nature Center is located in the Alderfer-Oenslager Wildlife Sanctuary on Ridge Road north of Wadsworth. The Oenslager Nature Center Wetlands, a project that recreated over four acres of this park’s marsh ecosystem, has a boardwalk permitting visitors to travel “into” the wetland for study and wildlife viewing. A deep-water pond provides opportunities for pond study. An accessible path makes the building, wetlands, deepwater pond and prairie areas available for people of all abilities.
River Styx Park
8200 River Styx Road
Wadsworth, Ohio 44281
From the Alderfer-Chatfield Wildlife Sanctuary, turn right onto OH-94 south and drive .6 mile. At the traffic circle, take the second exit onto OH-94 and drive 3.1 miles. Turn right onto Reimer Road and drive 2.6 miles. Turn right onto OH-57 north and go .8 mile. Turn left onto River Styx Road and go .6 mile. Turn right and arrive at River Styx Park.
This park is one of the few remaining sites in Medina County where neo-tropic warblers nest each year. The combination of open fields and mature forests make the area attractive to these birds. Walk the Red Trail combined with the Outer Loop Trail (about 1 mile total) for a nice mix of grassland and woodland birds. This park is good for warblers in spring, summer, and fall. You can add a loop around the pond to see if there are any water birds present.
Chippewa Lake–Chippewa Lake Boat Ramp
Westfield Landing Road
Medina, Ohio 44256
From River Styx Park, turn right onto River Styx Road and go .2 mile. Turn right onto Blake Road and drive 3.6 miles. Turn right onto OH-3 and go .4 mile. Turn left onto Kennard Road and drive 1.8 miles. Continue straight onto Lake Road for .4 mile. Make a slight right onto Kennard Road and go .5 mile. Turn right onto Westfield Landing Road and drive .8 mile. Arrive at the Chippewa Lake Boat Ramp.
The Medina County Park District has purchased Chippewa Lake, the largest natural lake in Ohio, and is developing a park on the west side of the lake. The Chippewa Lake Boat Ramp is a good place to observe ducks and geese on Chippewa Lake. Park in the parking area near the boat ramp. A spotting scope is helpful. You can scope from the shore or, when the ramp is not busy, from the concrete access to the dock. This spot provides a view of almost all of the lake waters. During the spring and fall migration, it is also worth checking the woodlot along the entry road and around the parking areas for songbirds. There is an eagle nest at the corner of Westfield Landing Road and Kennard Road.
Chippewa Lake–Krabill Lodge
Medina, Ohio 44256
From the Chippewa Lake Boat Ramp, drive west and then south on Westfield Landing Road. Turn right onto Kennard Road for .5 mile. Turn right onto Ballash Road and drive 1 mile. Arrive at Krabill Lodge on the right.
The Krabill Lodge area provides access to Chippewa Lake. Park in the lodge parking lot and walk down to the lake on the trail between the woods and the edge of the agricultural field. This field hosts nesting Bobolinks in the summer. Watch for sparrows along the trail as they like to fly from the woods to the field. The woods can be a migrant trap, especially in the fall. It is helpful to carry a scope to the lake. You can view the lake from the picnic table at the lake edge. You can turn north into the woods for a better view of the north end of the lake. The trail turns left to the south toward a wetland area where Prothonotary Warblers have been seen.
From the Krabill Lodge, turn left onto Ballash Road and drive 2.5 miles. Turn right onto Wedgewood Road (OH-162) and go .8 mile. Turn left into Buckeye Woods Park.
Buckeye Woods is located at 6335 Wedgewood Road (OH-162) west of Medina and is the largest of the Medina County parks. Parking in the second lot gives access to the to the Chippewa Inlet Trail via the Large Lake Loop trail. Turn right on the Chippewa Inlet Trail and follow it north to the wetlands on the north end of the Inlet Trail.
If you prefer to walk just the wetland, the Birding Drive route passes the parking lot for the north end of the Chippewa Inlet Trail. The walk travels through a mix of habitat providing views of a variety of woods and wetland birds.
Letha House Park
5800 Richman Road
Chatham Township, Ohio 44256
From Buckeye Woods Park, turn right and go north on Deerview Lane for 1.1 miles. Turn left onto US-42 south and drive 1.2 miles. Make a slight right onto Spencer Lake Road and drive 6.4 miles. Turn right onto Richman Road and drive .3 miles. Arrive at Letha House Park. Parking for the Lake Trail and Wood Thrush Trail is on the left. Parking for the Great Horned Owl Bridle Trail and the Paw Paw Trail is on the right.
Letha House Park is located at 5800 Richman Road in western Medina County. There are trails on both the east and west sides of Richman Road. On the west side, the Great Horned Owl Bridle Trail circles a wetland prairie and the Paw Paw Trail winds a short distance along a creek. On the east side, the Lake Trail and Wood Thrush Trail wander around the lake, through grassland and woods.
The Letha House Foundation was instrumental in providing funding for the acquisition of the land to create this park. It is crossed by a winding stream which is a tributary of the Black River.
A picnic shelter is available for reservation at this facility. A shady, wooded picnic ground is located near the parking lot for your family’s enjoyment. The wooded nature trail winds through a mature forest and features a large stand of Paw-Paw trees. The trail passes the Little Sweetly Creek, which is a prime location for children’s nature programs.
An observatory located on this site is operated by the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association. The dark skies of Letha House Park provide excellent conditions for viewing the heavens in all seasons. Watch for the announcements of public viewing.
A horse trail which leads from the parking lot and winds around agricultural fields and wooded areas is provided for the enjoyment of equestrians. Additional activities include fishing in the deep-water pond and wildlife viewing in the wetland area. Children can enjoy playing on the playground at Letha House Park West.
Spencer Lake Wildlife Area
Spencer Lake Road and Root Road
Spencer, Ohio 44275
From Letha House Park, drive south on Richman Road for .3 mile. Turn right onto Spencer Lake Road and go .9 mile. Turn left onto Root Road and then turn right into Spencer Lake Wildlife Area. The east side parking area is ahead .4 mile.
To reach the parking area on the west side of the wildlife area, turn right on Root Road and drive .8 mile. Turn right onto OH-162 and go .5 mile. Turn right onto Spencer Mills Road and drive .7 mile. Turn right onto River Corners Road and drive .4 mile. Turn right into the Spencer Lake Wildlife Area and proceed .3 mile to the west side parking area.
The 618-acre Spencer Lake Wildlife Area is situated in northeastern Ohio in Medina County, approximately two miles east of the village of Spencer, north of OH-162. OH-162 and Medina County Roads 27 and 58 provide good access. Spencer Lake Wildlife Area is in the glaciated portion of the state. It is characterized by gently rolling topography; the soil is rather heavy and the lower, level land tends to be wet in the spring.
The original land acquisitions were made in 1956, but it was not until 1961 that the dike and dam structures were completed and 60 acres were flooded. This lake is unusual in that it is constructed on a “saddle,” or watershed divide, and has a dam structure on both ends of the lake. A severe storm in July 1969 washed out the north dam. The dam was rebuilt in 1970 and the lake was enlarged to 78 acres.
A complete drawdown of Spencer Lake was implemented in 1985 to facilitate a fishery rehabilitation project. Three locations along the causeway were recontoured and deepened to 12 feet, thereby providing improved depths and better shore fishing opportunities. The lake was refilled and stocked with largemouth bass, bluegills, and channel catfish and reopened to fishing in 1986.
Present management of the wildlife area includes the establishment of grass-legume meadows and annual food patches, maintenance of open areas, and native brushy fencerows to improve conditions for upland game.