Deer Creek Wildlife Area–Dick Road Wetland
eBird Bar Charts by Season
Tips for birding Dick Road Wetland
The parking area on Dick Road for the wetland has several blinds and a handicapped accessible viewing blind as well. It is located on Dick Road off Egypt Pike a few miles south of OH-207. Roadside parking is available. The wetland area is also available to kayakers and canoers who want to bird by boat. You can expect to see a wide variety of migrating waterfowl including Great Egrets and lots of Green Herons. Ospreys hunt there as well during the spring and early summer. Warblers are also viewable during migration. I saw my first Snow Goose (white morph) there in March of 2019.
From Randall Searles
The Deer Creek Wildlife Area Wetlands occupy the southern portion of the Deer Creek Wildlife Area south of Dick Road all the way to New Holland. This is an interesting area worthy of far more attention from birders than it gets. Since much of this is relatively newly created habitat the list of species in the area seems to grow on every visit. On the Deer Creek Wildlife Area and State Park Map it can be seen that the wetlands are in three tracts.
The northern tract runs from Dick Road to a dike that crosses through the area. The middle and southern section are separated by another dike. Nowhere here is there an area that appears to be managed for shorebirds, but they will utilize the area when and if there is suitable habitat available. The northern section is the oldest. It can be viewed from Dick Road and from the dike (the thick dotted line on the map) south of it. There is a small parking area along Egypt Pike Road at the dike. A new short boardwalk has been constructed for wheelchair accessibility to hunting blinds on the north side, but I doubt they will be of any use for birders. A viewing platform is located on the NE side of the northern tract off of Dick Road, but it too isn’t very well located for birders being too far away to see much. This northern tract is usually filled with water too deep for shorebirds, but ducks and coots can be abundant in the spring. The water level can be low or bone dry at unexpected times. When conditions are right shorebirds can show up in the northern section. One fall several years ago a pair of American Avocets spent nearly a month in the northern tract, but suitable habitat hasn’t been available for them since. Rusty Blackbirds are seen most years along Dick Road in both the fall and spring. During wet springs the farm fields east of Dick Road along Mouser Road flood and are attractive to puddle ducks and shorebirds, sometimes in large numbers. Included in the long list of species that have been seen along Mouser Road in early spring are Ross’s Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, and American Golden-Plover.
From Robert Royse’s Bird Photography Pages
About Deer Creek Wildlife Area
The 4,220-acre wildlife area is in central Ohio, four miles south of Mount Sterling on OH-207 and adjacent to the 1,277-acre Deer Creek Lake. It can be reached from the east and west by US-22 and OH-56, and from the north and south by US-62 and OH-3, OH-104, and OH-207.
The topography is flat to slightly rolling. The soils are mostly well drained and of medium to high productivity. Approximately 1,000 acres of row crops and small grains are under cultivation annually. Controlled burning and native warm season grass plantings have also been introduced as part of the wildlife management program.
About 25 percent of the wildlife area consists of second growth hardwoods and brush in advanced stages of succession. The timber stand is mainly on the east side of Deer Creek It includes oak, hickory, elm, black walnut, ash, maple, locust, sycamore, and cottonwood. Index of Ohio’s trees from the Division of Forestry. The uncropped remainder of the area is in permanent meadow, reverting fields, wildlife food plots, and prairie grasses.
Deer Creek Lake construction began in 1965 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and was completed in 1968. Of the 7,575 acres, 6,875 are leased to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for fish, wildlife, and general recreation purposes. Deer Creek State Park lies to the south and east of the lake and provides camping, picnicking, and boat launching facilities for the hunter and angler. Public hunting is permitted on some of the undeveloped 3,165 acres controlled by the Division of Parks and Recreation, and on all property controlled by the Division of Wildlife.
Wildlife management plans provide for the maintenance and protection of existing woodlands, establishment of field sizes and crop rotations beneficial to wildlife, improvement of open fields for wildlife nesting, and the establishment of annual food patches for general wildlife use. Permanent wildlife cover has been provided through the planting of native prairie grasses such as switchgrass, big blue stem, and Indiangrass.
From Deer Creek Wildlife Area webpage
Restrooms at Deer Creek State Park.
There is a handicapped accessible bird viewing blind at the Dick Road Wetland.