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.
Pickerel Creek Birding Drive
Click on the hotspot names below to view the page about that hotspot.
This Birding Drive explores eBird hotspots in Erie and Sandusky Counties. When you submit checklists here you help to add to the data about birds in this region of Ohio.
Wahl Road, off of US-6 Vickery, Ohio 43464
From the intersection of OH-2 and US-6, drive west on US-6 for 2.9 miles. Turn right onto Wahl Road Road. In 2.2 miles turn right on Willow Point Road. Or continue another .5 mile to the Fish Work Unit parking.
There are two access points with parking at Willow Point Wildlife Area.
+ The eastern pools can be reached by driving north from Wahl Road onto the dirt Willow Point Road. This road ends at a fishing access on Sandusky Bay. About halfway between Wahl Road and Sandusky Bay there is a small parking area on the east side of Willow Point Road which provides walking access to the dikes around the eastern pools.
+ Further west on Wahl Road there is a parking area at the Fish Work Unit. Walk from here to the pools to the northwest of the buildings. These pools can sometimes be good for shorebirds. Or walk further north to the pools by Sandusky Bay.
Willow Point Wildlife Area juts into Sandusky Bay and features an extensive marsh protected by a system of dikes. Willow Point originally was conserved as a private duck club and was acquired by the Ohio Division of Wildlife in 1975. Large numbers of waterfowl gather in migration, especially dabbling ducks. This is a good spot to search through American Wigeon in March and April for the much rarer Eurasian Wigeon. A good variety of marsh birds occurs, including herons, rails, Marsh Wren, and sometimes Yellow-headed Blackbird. There are numerous Bald Eagles in the area, and winter counts on adjacent Sandusky Bay sometimes total 40 or more birds.
The area lies on the southern shore of Sandusky Bay. The general topography is flat, and about two-thirds of the area is open water and marshland. Cattails are the primary vegetation in the marshes. Much of the remaining acreage is open land.
Vickery, Ohio 43464
From Willow Point, drive west on Wahl Road for 1.6 miles. Continue onto Hill Road as the road bends north for 1.2 miles. Turn right onto US-6 west and go .8 mile. Turn right onto Duffet Road for .5 mile.
Parking Area E is on Duffett Road and provides walking access to the easternmost ponds and dikes at Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area.
During the spring and fall migrations, large numbers of waterfowl are attracted to the area. Mallard, wood duck, black duck, blue-winged teal, and green-winged teal are the most abundant species, with wigeon, pintail, gadwall, and shoveler appearing in smaller numbers. Canada geese also use the area. Other bird species include the trumpeter and tundra swans, common tern, great blue heron, great egret, black-crowned night heron, woodcock, snipe, sora, Virginia rail, and mourning dove. Bald eagles nest in the area and both adults and immatures are frequently seen year-round.
Vickery, Ohio 43464
Drive south on Duffet Road for .5 mile. Turn right onto US-6 west and drive 1.2 miles. Watch for the Pump House on the right.
Park near the Pump House for walking access to the dikes and impoundments which form the “Pump House Wetland”. This area can be good for shorebirds when the water level is drawn down. A spotting scope is helpful for observing distant birds.
Vickery, Ohio 43464
From the Pump House Wetland, drive west on US-6 for .5 mile. Watch for the parking area for the Observation Deck on the right.
An observation deck is open all year for viewing the abundant wetland birds and other wildlife. It is located along OH-6 on the north side of the highway, just east of Pickerel Creek and very near the largest parking area. Other accesses to the wetlands are several parking areas along the north side of OH-6 and also along the east side of the wetlands on Township Road 280. The best birding strategy for the area is to view it from the observation deck and by walking the many dikes throughout the area.
2134 County Road 260 Vickery, Ohio 43464
From the Observation Deck, drive west on OH-6 for .3 mile. Turn left onto North Yorktown Highway (County Road 260) and go .4 mile. Arrive at Blue Heron Reserve on the right.
Blue Heron Reserve encompasses 160 acres and is owned and managed by the Sandusky County Park District. Nearly 1.5 miles of trails bisect the reserve’s varied habitats, which include woods, meadows, shrubby areas, wetlands, and a pond. Almost a mile of trail is recycled plastic boardwalk. This is a good site to visit during the breeding season. Well over 100 species have been documented in the reserve or nearby. Some nesters include both species of cuckoo, Red-headed Woodpecker, Willow and Least flycatchers, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-breasted Chat, and nine species of sparrows including Vesper, Grasshopper, and Savannah sparrows.
From Blue Heron Reserve webpage
Vickery, Ohio 43464
From the Blue Heron Reserve, drive north on North Yorktown Highway for .4 mile. Turn left onto US-6 west and go .5 mile. Turn right onto Pearson Road and drive 1.2 miles.
Pearson Road is identified as County Road 256 on maps but signed as Pearson Road when you are birding the area. The wildlife area headquarters is at the end of the road. There is a prairie restoration area on the east side of Pearson Road at the second parking area. The wetland on the west side of the road here can sometimes be good for shorebirds during migration. In the fall migration swallows often gather on the utility lines along this road.
Brunner Road Vickery, Ohio 43464
From Pearson Road, turn right onto US-6 west for .5 mile. Turn right onto Brunner Road and drive 1.1 miles. Watch for the parking area for Boggy Bottoms on the left.
Pickerel Creek was the “flagship project” of Ohio’s initial North American Waterfowl Management Plan efforts and the first project, outlined here, restored 380 acres of emergent marsh on the Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area and paved the way for a series of important projects to follow.
Ducks Unlimited helped complete the second phase of the Pickerel Creek project in 1993 by restoring 475 acres of wetlands, helping complete the Boggy Bottoms project in 2004 in the same area, enhancing 40 acres of moist-soil wetlands. A National Coastal Wetlands Conservation grant was used in 2008 to restore 283 acres of mixed wetland types and more than 100 acres of native prairie within Pickerel Creek WA.
This project was funded in part by a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant. Ducks Unlimited helped secure this first standard NAWCA grant for conservation work in Ohio.