With a whole day to explore, and an itch to see something new, we dove into the Ashland Co. Parks District. With hunting season mostly over, I felt more comfortable exploring the area (many of their parks are public hunting areas).
Our first stop was at Hurdle Waterfowl Park - a nice flat trail leads to a chain of ponds, between two ponds stands a large observation tower. Although the ponds appeared to be void of waterfowl, after walking and standing for a bit we found Canada Geese, Canvas Backs, Buffleheads, Seagulls, Herons, and Ring-necked Ducks.
From there we headed to the farthest North-Eastern park - Pine Hill Park (Crall/Sauers). This park has some interesting hills and water features, along with an old growth forest that's an official 'National Natural Landmark'. I found my first wildflowers of the season while strolling through these woods - Harbinger of Spring, Purple Cress, really early Ramps, Hepatica leaves. While I was watching for flowers, a giant bird flew silently overhead, the only birds who can be so giant, quiet, and nimble are the owls! We slowly crept up towards the tree that it landed in and were able to snap a few shots before it took off again - a Barred Owl. This is a park to be explored while the flowers are at peak bloom, I'm looking forward to going back in a few weeks to see what else will be popping up.
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.