Ohio’s a Midwestern state, right?
Farmland boasting fertile fields of both corn and beans, a hint of hill country to the east where the Appalachian plateau rises from the Ohio River Valley, and Columbus situated at its center—including, of course, the sprawling campus of The Ohio State University, where, this time each year, thousands relapse into a case of Buckeye Fever that consumes the region until football season has passed.
A lighthouse is perhaps the last thing you might associate with the state of Ohio.
In the center of what is termed the Lake Erie Western Basin, sits the quaint village of Lakeside—the site of the 2011 Midwest Birding Symposium—surrounded by many legendary opportunities for great birding.
Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, known as the Warbler Capitol of the World, is probably best known for its famous boardwalk along the lakefront that draws thousands of onlookers each spring as warblers rest and refuel before crossing the Great Lakes to points north. Other sites that are frequent favorites include Black Swamp Bird Observatory, East Harbor State Park, Marblehead Lighthouse State Park, Meadowbrook Marsh, and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.
To be unveiled by the Ohio Division of Wildlife at this year’s symposium, is the Lake Erie Birding Trail--84 sites in an expanded area from Toledo to Conneaut, organized into 7 easily-driven loops and offering birders a chance to tally nearly 400 species along its length. As popular as birding has become, the grand opening of this newest of North American birding trails will surely be welcomed by birders beyond the borders of Ohio, for, situated in “The Heart of it All,” Ohio is within a one-day drive of nearly half of the population of North America!
Feeling a little torn between a desire to travel these trails in the pursuit of the birds and a desire to curb your carbon footprint?
This year at the Midwest Birding Symposium, an experimental and voluntary Carbon Offset Bird Project will be launched giving attendees an opportunity to calculate the impact of their bird-related travel to and during the symposium.
As monetary values are suggested to offset emissions based upon mileage and vehicle type, donations collected in this effort will be used to secure additional wetland habitat adjacent to Meadowbrook Marsh, just east of Lakeside.
No, the beaches of Ohio's lakefront don't smell of salt air.
And you won't find clams or lobster on the menu here.
But the birding is world-class.
The birders, too.
If you're not signed up for the Midwest Birding Symposium, get on board!
And be sure to follow the course of events as these bloggers report from Lakeside, Ohio.