Posted in Hiking, Park visit

Viewing Wildlife from the Boardwalk at Maumee Bay State Park

The boardwalk at Maumee Bay State Park is one of my favorites in the state. When we are checking out various parks and preserves in the northwest corner of Ohio, we often stay at the lodge in Maumee Bay. And despite having hiked for much of day, about 40 to 45 minutes before dusk we will head out to the boardwalk for an evening stroll. More times than not, we will see wildlife not far from the boardwalk.

A fawn browsing near the boardwalk

It looks like the fawn above is a little buck; you can just make out the beginning antler buds on the top of his head. Deer are a relatively common sight this time of day. The fawn’s mother was not far away.

The fawn’s mother watches over him.

During our stay we also got to observe a doe nursing her young.

A doe nursing her fawn

I managed to capture this in the short video below (or you can view it directly at Vimeo).

We also caught a raccoon navigating his way through this wet area on the boardwalk.

A raccoon notices people approaching

He wasn’t the only animal using the boardwalk to travel through this wetland area. We also came across the tiny gartersnake below. It is nonvenomous.

Butler’s Gartersnake (Thamnophis butleri)
Butler’s Gartersnake (Thamnophis butleri)

We caught sight of a muskrat browsing right beside the boardwalk, but it skedaddled under the boardwalk before I could snap a photo of it.

Because this is a wetland area, there are often large, wading birds hunting for food near the boardwalk.

Great Blue Heron

The green stuff floating on top of the water is called duckweed. As the name suggests, this serves as food for ducks, but also for other animals. It is 20 to 40% protein.

Common duckweed (Lemna minor); the leaves of these plants have small pockets of air within them, so they will float.

We also saw egrets.


Both herons and egrets are great fish hunters, but they will eat amphibians, too, like the frog below.

Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens pipiens)

And of course there were dragonflies darting about. You may not realize this, but dragonflies are the most successful predators in the animal kingdom, catching more than 95% of the prey that they pursue.

Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis), female

The hawk portion of this dragonfly’s name is a tribute to the fact that it is a little, aerial predator. In this particular species of dragonfly, the male and female have completely different coloration.

Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis), male

In case you haven’t been to the boardwalk, here are photos taken along the way to give you a feel for the place.

Sitting area along the boardwalk.
We were visiting the park in August, so the reddish tinge in some of the trees is due to stress, and not autumn.
Swamp rose mallow growing near the boardwalk
Posing near the common reed grass to the left to give an idea of how tall it is.
Going through a relatively dry woods
Curving back and forth around the trees
Blossoms of some sort of wild onion plant
Passing over standing water covered with duckweed

A favorite destination is an observation deck near the Lake Erie shoreline. You can see it in the distance with the pathway surrounded by reed grass.

The path leading to the observation deck

The following photos were taken from the top of the observation deck looking out on the surrounding area. In the one immediately below, I’m look out towards Lake Erie.

Lake Erie in the distance. To the right you can see patches of water through the grass.

Below I’m turning away from Lake Erie and looking over the grassy marshland.

Marshy grassland. Near the bottom of the photo you can see glimpses of water.

As I mentioned we were exploring the boardwalk shortly before dusk, so you might think there would be lots of mosquitoes. However, we typically spray DEET™ onto our exposed skin before outings, and we weren’t troubled by mosquitoes.

We returned back to the lodge before dark so we could enjoy the sunset.

Sunset at the lodge at Maumee Bay State Park. You can see a bit of Lake Erie to the right.
Additional information

Maumee Bay State Park
  • Address: 1400 State Park Rd #1, Oregon, OH 43618–9532
  • GPS Coordinates: 41.683598,-83.367756
  • Google Maps: View on map or get directions

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© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

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