Mosquito Lake State Park–Walnut Creek
eBird Bar Charts by Season
Ohio Birding Day Hike
Mosquito Lake State Park Trails
Tips for birding Walnut Creek
Walnut Creek flows out of Cortland and enters Mosquito Lake just east of a bridge on McCleary Jacoby Road. The creek waters mix with lake water in a small cove east of the bridge, where Belted Kingfishers can frequently be seen, along with herons, Mallards, and Wood Ducks.
The Ohio Department of Wildlife manages a property southwest of the bridge extending out to the lake, which is best for walking while birding. The property extends south for about 300 yards from the bridge along the road; and west out to the lake for about 200 yards. There are no trails here; however, grass is mowed from the gravel parking lot out to the lake and on to the northern point.
In early 2020, the Department of Wildlife installed two Osprey nest poles on this property, and five around the lake. One is located half-way out to the lake, which can be seen from the parking lot; and one at the furthest northern-point is located about 250 yards out.
Birding is safest on the grass path out to the lake, that is never narrower than 20 feet across. The Eastern Phoebe and Brown Thrasher have been found here. The Prothonotary Warbler nests naturally between the grass strip and the lake on the north side. Other warblers migrating along the east side of the lake can be found as well as migrating ducks and loons.
A scope can be setup looking west out across the lake, north, and back towards the bridge from the point. There are trees and shrubs along the shoreline directly west; with a few openings for those fishing or with a scope. There are some openings looking southwest. The woods to the south have a deer path, but many plants with thorns exist here. Along McCleary Jacoby road from the parking lot headed south, there is no ditch and about six-feet of level ground beside the property; otherwise, it is mostly lined with multi-flora rose. The southern property boundary ends at a fence for a Yacht Club.
There are no facilities at this property; not even a bench or picnic table. Closest public facilities are south at the OH-305 Boat Launch.
From Rick Nelson
About Mosquito Lake State Park
Before Ohio was settled, the banks of Mosquito Creek were hidden by a vast forest that covered most of the state. Little remains of the ancient forest that stood for nearly 10,000 years. In the Mosquito Lake area, regrowth has occurred and the nice stands of beech-maple woodlands can be enjoyed. In pioneer times, the beech-maple belt was very extensive and stretched from Mansfield to Pennsylvania. The reason is that this area has more cloudy days, cooler summer temperatures and more winter snow cover as compared to the rest of Ohio.
The park’s woodlands support colonies of spring beauties, anemones, Dutchman’s breeches, purple cresses, and other spring wildflowers. Goldenrod and asters will bloom in the fall in the park’s open areas. Many wildlife species find the park’s varied habitats suitable. Red fox, woodchuck, muskrat, beaver, fox squirrel, raccoon, rabbit, and white-tailed deer are common. Recently, river otters were reintroduced in nearby favorable locations. Several otter families have been sighted.
Many birds live in or migrate through the area including robins, warblers, swallows, and sparrows. The yellow-bellied sapsucker and hairy woodpecker are uncommon in other parts of Ohio but abundant in this part of the state. Numerous species of waterfowl and shorebirds take advantage of the park’s many wetlands during spring and fall migrations. Canada geese, herons, tundra swans, great egrets, and a variety of ducks can be observed. Large predatory birds including several species of hawks and the magnificent bald and golden eagles have been spotted here.
From Mosquito Lake State Park webpage
About Mosquito Creek Lake
Authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938, Mosquito Creek Lake is one of 16 flood control projects in the Pittsburgh District. The project provides flood protection for the Mahoning River Valley as well as the Beaver and upper Ohio Rivers.
Since its completion in 1944, Mosquito Creek Lake has prevented flood damages estimated to be in excess of $418 million. Mosquito has the capability to store the equivalent run-off of 29 inches of precipitation from its 97 square mile drainage area. When compared to the saving which have resulted, the construction cost of just over $4 million appears small.
Mosquito Creek Lake also stores water and releases it downstream during dry periods to improve water quality and quantity for domestic and industrial use, recreation, aesthetics and aquatic life.
A feature unique to Mosquito Creek Lake is its use of an uncontrolled natural spillway. The natural spillway is located at the upper end of the lake in a low-lying reach of the Mosquito Creek – Grand River Divide. The elevation of the spillway at the point of divide is such that if an impoundment of flood waters should fill the lake, to an elevation of 904 feet above sea level, the southerly outflow of the lake would be reversed. The outflow would then be discharged through the natural spillway into a tributary of the Grand River which flows north into Lake Erie.
The lake and most of its surrounding lands are leased by the Corps of Engineers to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as Mosquito Lake State Park. However, you will find that both the Corps and Ohio Department of Natural Resources provide numerous, well-maintained facilities at the lake to enhance your recreational experience. Mosquito Creek Lake is the second largest inland lake in Ohio with Grand Lake St. Mary’s being the largest.
The Corps maintains five recreation areas in the vicinity of the dam. These include picnic areas with tables and grills, parking and easy access to the lake’s shoreline or tailwaters area for fishing and sightseeing, as well as a nature trail. Old Route 305 provides a three lane boat launch ramp. Also in this area is a “watchable wildlife” site that can be accessed near the nature trail. Accessible restrooms for persons with disabilities are available at the Lakeview Recreation Area and the Tailwater Recreation Area. A fishing access area for the physically challenged is also available at the Lakeview Recreation Area.
From Mosquito Creek Lake (US Army Corps of Engineers) webpage
Restrooms at locations identified on Mosquito Lake State Park map.