Heronry in Delaware County

Last month in Delaware County, naturalist Kim Banks held a special program on great blue herons. Mated pairs of these herons nest very close to one another in what’s called a heronry. Participants then drove from Deer Haven Preserve (one of the county parks) to a nearby Liberty Township preserve known as Smith Preserve at Olentangy Falls. It turns out that there is a sizable heronry there. I returned just last week to see how things were developing.

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The heron in the foreground is arranging sticks in its nest. Another heron hunkers down in the nest to the left.

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Clifton Gorge in Spring

Bob and I visited Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve in early April. Since the foliage isn’t out yet, visitors can get a clearer view of the Little Miami River than would be available in summer, plus the river is swollen from all of the spring showers.

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Looking down at the falls at Clifton Gorge. The bare branches over the falls that will be leafing out and partially blocking the view later this year.

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Hocking Hills IQ Quiz – Can You Identify These Landmarks?

Test your Hocking Hills IQ. How many locations in the Hocking Hills can you identify? All images in this quiz are of places located in Hocking County. View the image and see if you can identify the location. Then click the ‘Show Answer’ button to see if you are correct. I’ve also provided a link to further information if you’d like to visit the location.
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A.W. Marion State Park

A.W. Marion State Park is a 309-acre park with a 145-acre lake within its borders. The lake, known as Hargus Lake, has been stocked with largemouth bass, muskellunge, bluegill and channel catfish. Currently the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) only permits boats to use electric motors. Although the lake doesn’t have a beach, boaters are allowed to swim from their boats in one corner of the lake (the swimming area is marked on the park’s map).

I visited the park twice in late April of last year. At the time there were quite a few spring flowers, and the trees were just beginning to leaf out. My objective was to walk the 5-mile Hargus Lake Perimeter Trail, which as the name suggests goes the whole way around the lake. Although I was just walking the trail, there are also scheduled runs around the lake (see links at the bottom).

Fishing boat on the lake

Fishing boat on the lake and an island.

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Hazards of the Ohio Outdoors: Part 1

The Ohio outdoors is relatively tame compared to other parts of the country. We have no mountains, no swamps with large carnivorous reptiles, no blistering hot deserts, and no oceans. Still there are dangers facing the unwary and people do get killed and injured in the Ohio outdoors. The purpose of this article is to discuss some of those dangers as well as ways to mitigate them.

Staying on the trail

Staying on the trail


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Cascade Valley South Metro Park

Cascade Valley South is part of the Summit County’s Metro Park system. The park has multiple entrances with different attractions at each. In all there are seven miles of trail and many locations where you can view the Cuyahoga River. We began our tour near one of the River’s oxbows (an oxbow is just a tight bend in a river).

Oxbow in the Cuyahoga River Viewed from the observation deck

Oxbow in the Cuyahoga River viewed from the observation deck off the Observation Trail.

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Estel Wenrick Wetlands

Estel Wenrick Wetlands is a 255-acre preserve that’s part of the Clark County Park District in southwest Ohio. Bob and I visited the preserve in late June of last year. As the park district makes clear, recreational use takes a back seat to preserving this high-quality wetland. Although there is a trail and even a boardwalk for the benefit of hikers and birdwatchers, portions of the trail are overgrown, and we encountered a couple downed trees stretching across the trail. But as you can see from the photos below, the preserve is a pretty place, and Bob and I both enjoyed it. If like us, you go during the summer, I highly recommend applying DEET, and once you’ve done that, apply DEET again. And if you decide to explore the more overgrown portions of the trail, I’d recommend wearing long pants to protect against poison ivy.

Duckweed-covered stream

A very green stream; the green color is from the duckweed that was floating on the surface.

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