After traveling around Ohio we noticed something unique – metro parks. These parks are all over the place and provide a great deal of recreation. Located near cities or metropolitan centers such as Toledo, Cleveland and Columbus, they are not the usual kind of city parks that I would expect. These metro parks have acres of forests, waterways and miles of biking and hiking trails where you feel you have really gotten away into nature. Ohio has done a great thing protecting and making available so much green space for residents and visitors. While staying near Lake Erie for the warbler migration, we decided to visit one of these parks that had been recommended to us.
After driving to Oak Openings Preserve, we started our walk near Oakes Lodge. The trails were a little confusing at first but we eventually figured out a course that we hoped would take us to the Buehner Center where we would be able to do some birding. The forest here was so green, especially after all the rain the state has had. As a California native where “green” only lasts for the early spring months, I continue to be amazed at the lushness in the Eastern part of the U.S. This lushness seems to last much of the year. Since traveling in Ohio. Mark and I have often commented about all the people out mowing their lawns with riding mowers, an activity that must consume a lot of free time!
It was a beautiful spring walk with many flowers in bloom. White trillium was the most abundant and there were masses of these plants with large green leaves and white flowers throughout our hike.
I was thrilled when I heard the screeching call of a Pileated Woodpecker. I was able to see one flying about and followed it along the trail but it wouldn’t stay put for a photo. I did get some pictures of a Red-headed Woodpecker, a bird I have only seen a few times in our traveling, the first time in Louisiana. But the lighting this time did not make for a good photo.
We arrived to the Buehner Center after a great hike! This Center sits next to a lake and has a building available for events as well as picnic areas and a playground. We were most interested though in their birding window. Sitting inside there were perfect views of a number of feeding stations outside. I was rather surprised that we saw 19 different bird species in a short period of time including Indigo Bunting, Scarlet Tanager, American Redstart, American Goldfinch, Pine Warbler, Red-headed Woodpecker and Baltimore Oriole.
I was most excited about having such a great view of the Red-headed Woodpecker, a vibrant colored bird.
We spent more than an hour at the Center watching the birds and met a local named Michael. We had fun talking about birds, travel and life experiences. We found out he and his wife follow some of the same full time RVers that I follow on You Tube. After spending some time in Ohio I have been thinking about the people here and how friendly, easy to talk to and laid back they are. This seems to be a trend throughout the state as Ohioans have been interested to get to know us. Along with many other things, this has been a plus to visiting here.
I will close with some more nature photos. These are actually from Magee Marsh and include my favorite Warbler (Magnolia) and a Blanding’s Turtle with its characteristic yellow throat that is considered endangered.
Until next time when my post will be about our time at Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio.