The auto tour route at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge (Lucas and Ottawa
counties, NW Ohio) has been open for the last two days, and will be open
this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, the 28th and 29th, from 8 am to 4 pm. I
checked it out today and found moderate numbers of shorebirds in one
stretch, along the western edge of MS 5, where the road runs north between
units MS 4 and MS 5. (For a map of the auto tour route on the refuge, see
Because the birds are east of the road, the lighting will be better in the
afternoon. The birds are scattered on small areas of shallows and mudflats
and most are fairly distant, so a scope is necessary for most of them. This
afternoon I saw expected things - Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral,
Least, and Semipalmated Sandpipers, and Wilson's Snipes - but the habitat
looks as if it could attract other interesting species. In addition to
shorebirds, the area also had numbers of Snowy and Great Egrets, Common
Gallinules, Trumpeter Swans, and various ducks. The road is wide enough
here that it's possible to pull over with care and park so that other
vehicles can go by.
Note that on Sunday the 29th, the refuge is also hosting a classic car show
called "Cars for Critters," with lots of family activities in addition to
the car show. It's free and open to the public, and runs from 9 to 3.
Depending on your own personal interests, this could be a fun thing to
check out. But even if you're not interested, you can still skirt the edges
of the festivities and go bird the auto tour route itself.
Oak Harbor, OH
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