Lucas County Lakeshore Birding Drive

Birding Drives are routes for birding trips which can be accomplished in one day, stopping to walk and bird at various eBird hotspots. For each birding drive, a Google map is provided with the route and suggested stops at eBird hotspots. You may save the link to the Google map on your smartphone or tablet, or print a copy on paper to take with you. Links are provided with information about each eBird hotspot. Follow those links for more information about birding each location.

Lucas County Lakeshore Birding Drive
Click on the hotspot names below to view the page about that hotspot.

This Birding Drive explores eBird hotspots in Lucas County. When you submit checklists here you help to add to the data about birds in this region of Ohio.

Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area

Bono Road Curtice, Ohio 43412

From Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, drive west on OH-2 for 5.3 miles. Turn right onto Bono Road and drive 1.4 miles to Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area.

This 558-acre Lake Erie marsh is located 13 miles east of Toledo. Bono Road provides access to the area from OH-2, less than .5 mile east of Bono. Water levels in the marsh are managed to provide optimum vegetation for wetland wildlife. Water depth in the marsh ranges from one to four feet.

Metzger Marsh is a remnant of the 300,000-acre marsh which once bordered most of western Lake Erie from Vermilion, Ohio to Gibraltar, Michigan. The construction of a high retaining dike and an internal pattern of drainage canals in conjunction with a large steam driven, water-life elevator allowed the Metzger Farms to operate throughout the early 1920s as a highly productive truck crop farm. In 1929, waters of Lake Erie broke through the dikes and flooded the area. The dikes were not rebuilt and with the loss of water control, the area reverted rapidly to its original marsh condition and became high-quality duck habitat. For several years, extremely good waterfowling was enjoyed by members of the Metzger Marsh Duck Club. High water levels in the 1940s eroded the remaining beach barriers and by 1952 the marsh resembled a cove off Lake Erie. Presently, about 70 percent of the area consists of open shallow water.

The marsh was purchased by the Division of Wildlife in 1955. Waterfowl hunting, trapping, and fishing in the marsh and Lake Erie are major uses of the area. The outer dike was restored in 1995 to allow for water level management. This work was accomplished through a cooperative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, local conservation groups, and the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Howard Marsh Metropark

611 South Howard Road Curtice, Ohio 43412

From Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area, drive southwest on Bono Road for 1.4 miles. Turn right onto OH-2 west and drive .5 mile. Turn right onto South Howard Road. Howard Marsh Metropark is on the right.

Howard Marsh, on OH-2 at Howard Road, showcases six miles of water trail for canoeing and kayaking and five miles of dike-top trails for hiking.

The Metropark, which was previously a working farm, is adjacent to the Metzger Marsh State Wildlife Area in a region that also includes Maumee Bay State Park, Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area, and the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Together, these local, state and federal public lands are known for their concentration of songbirds, or warblers, especially during spring migration.

Maumee Bay SP

1400 State Park Road Oregon, Ohio 43616

From Howard Marsh Metropark, turn right and head north on South Howard Road for 1.3 miles. Turn left onto Corduroy Road and go 5 miles. Turn right onto North Curtice road and drive 1.2 miles. Make a slight left onto Park Road 1 to enter Maumee Bay State Park.

There are a number of eBird hotspots within Maumee Bay State Park. Explore as many of them as your time permits.

Maumee Bay State Park is a tribute to Lake Erie. This precious gift is one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world and it reflects the diverse natural heritage of Ohio.

The history of Lake Erie began with the glacial period known as the Pleistocene. Massive sheets of ice gouged and scoured the bedrock of Ohio. Testimony of the ice’s force is found throughout the lake area. Small scratches in the rock surface known as glacial striations are common, while major grooves are rare but awesome.

The wetlands of the Maumee Bay area offer a vivid array of natural wonders. Wetlands contain more species of wildlife than any other habitat type, including fox snake, northern water snake, painted turtle, chorus frog, green frog, spotted salamander, raccoon, muskrat, dragonfly, caddis fly, and water striders. Over 300 species of birds have been recorded with shorebirds such as snipe, great blue heron, common gallinule and ring-billed gulls residing with waterfowl including Canada geese, pintails, redheads, and ruddy ducks. Songbirds include the red-winged blackbird, yellow warbler, killdeer, and swamp sparrow. Spring migration brings many others including the colorful warblers. The plant life is diverse as well. Cattails, buttonbush, phragmites, bur-reed, cottonwood, and black willow are just a few examples of the marsh plants at the park.

In addition to marsh and swamp wetlands, several prairies add more diversity to the landscape. Ring-necked pheasants densely populate the meadow areas of the park.

The Lake Erie shoreline sets the stage for the comeback of the bald eagle in Ohio. Nesting pairs have been reported recently in Ohio with the majority being in the western basin of Lake Erie.

South Shore Veterans Park

Oregon, Ohio 43616

From Maumee Bay State Park, exit the park onto Cedar Point Road. Turn right onto Cedar Point Road and drive 1 mile. Turn right onto North Stadium Road and drive 1 mile. Turn left onto Bay Shore Road and go .1 mile. South Shore Veterans Park is on the right, the parking area is on the left.

The 35.4-acre South Shore Veterans Park is located both north and south of Bayshore Road in Oregon. Many of the park’s recreational amenities, including a picnic shelter, ball fields, playground, basketball court, open space, exercise trail and an observation/sledding hill overlooking Lake Erie are on the south side of the road.

The north side of the park features a paved and lighted concrete, handicapped accessible walkway with benches overlooking Maumee Bay. The 600-foot boardwalk is armored with large limestone boulders and provides fishing access. In November 2001, the walkway was rededicated and named the James A. Haley Boardwalk, in honor of his public service to the citizens of the city for more than a quarter-century.

South Shore Veterans Park is a convergence point for two bike trails that follow Bayshore and Stadium roads. The routes are components in an extensive network of biking trails that, when complete, will link the Maumee River to the west of Oregon to Maumee Bay State Park on the city’s east-end. Many side-route bikeways are found along the way.

Bayshore Fishing Access

4867 Bayshore Road Oregon, Ohio 43616

From South Shore Veterans Park, drive west on Bay Shore Road for 1 mile. Arrive at Bayshore Fishing Access on the right.

Enormous numbers of waterfowl often congregate in Maumee Bay in late fall and early spring. As many as 50,000 Lesser Scaup have been tallied, along with thousands of Canvasbacks and Common Mergansers. Bayshore Fishing Access is the best place to get a view of birds on the eastern side of the bay. This access is also close to the warm water release outlet from the nearby power plant, which keeps an open water area in winter. A footpath heads west from the parking lot and the brushy thickets in this area are always good for checking for migrant songbirds. At the path’s end, the discharge channel from the power plant is visible. Black-crowned Night-Herons often overwinter here and can be seen roosting in shrubs along the waterway.

Dedicated on July 1, 1999, the 8.2-acre Bayshore Fishing Access site in Oregon includes a single-lane boat ramp and short dock to fish from. The water is very shallow in the nearshore. Depending on the water level, a portion of the shore to the immediate east of the launch may have an exposed muddy-sand beach. The portion of the shore to the immediate west of the boat launch is covered by a stone revetment which provides fishing access for the surefooted.

Cullen Park

4500 North Summit Street Toledo, Ohio 43606

From Bayshore Fishing Access, drive west on Bay Shore Road for .8 mile. Continue onto Otter Creek Road for 1.8 miles. Turn right onto Millard Avenue and go .8 mile. Turn left onto Front Street and drive 2.1 miles. Turn right onto Craig Bridge Street and go .5 mile crossing the Maumee River. Turn right onto North Summit Street and go .5 mile. North Summit Street turns slightly left and becomes Galena Street. Turn right onto North Summit street and drive 2.9 miles. Turn right onto 101st Street and arrive at Cullen Park.

The 36-acre Cullen Park is Ohio’s westernmost Lake Erie public access site and the city of Toledo’s only site with direct access to Maumee Bay. It is also the only access location between the Ohio-Michigan state line and the Maumee River mouth. As noted on the entrance sign, Cullen Park is a public boat launch facility. The park also provides fishing access, trailer parking, benches affording scenic views, and the occasional lake freighter sighting.

Cullen Park’s Point Place Path is a paved walking trail extending south between Summit Street and the bay and leading to a replica lighthouse and scenic area. The two-mile (round trip) Squadron Island Nature Trail is a dirt hiking path that traverses a seemingly natural, well-foliaged, but artificial pier. Seamlessly connected at the end of the pier is Squadron Island, a natural island. Countless potential fishing sites can be accessed via the Squadron Island Nature Trail, as can many pocket beaches and bird viewing spots are located along its length.

The present location of Cullen Park is near the former site of Lake Erie Amusement Park and Casino, first built in 1895. The long-defunct amusement venue once featured rides, games, a boardwalk, and vaudeville shows. Like many turn-of-the-century amusement parks, fire spelled its downfall; the original pier burned in 1901 as did its replacement in 1910.