Lake Erie Barrier beach; excellent bird watching
Adjacent to Sawmill Creek Resort
Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve is the last remaining Ohio example of a Great Lakes coastal wetland. This 460-acre state nature preserve, adjacent to Sawmill Creek Resort, within walking distance, contains upland fields in various stages of succession, hedgerows, pine plantations, mature upland forest with an abundance of edge, swamp forest, cattail marsh, open marshlands, a barrier beach, and Lake Erie shoreline beaches. The main path through the woods, past the wetlands, was the original automobile entrance to Cedar Point Amusement Park in the early 1900's. Walk the trail to the barrier beach for the spectacular view of Lake Erie. Cattails and willow flourish here, along with kingfishers, egrets and, blanding's turtles. This superlative mix of habitats provides for one of Ohio's premiere birding locations.
A walking trail runs through the hardwood successional plantings on the west side of the old Cedar Point roadway from the parking lot to the south edge of the mature woodland, or you can walk the old roadway through several distinct habitats on your way out to the lake. This area also features some observation platforms overlooking the marsh and a boardwalk, further north, that will take you west and out to the barrier beach. There is also another roadway along the east side of the preserve that provides excellent birding in the early morning. It is a full mile, south to north, from the parking lot to the Lake Erie shoreline.
Rare sightings for Sheldon Marsh include:
Snowy Owl, Golden-winged Warbler, Piping Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, Black Tern, Purple Sandpiper, Harris' Sparrow, Chuck-will's Widow, American Woodcock, and Kirtland's Warbler.
Birds of Interest - Seasonal Specialties
Winter: In addition to the expected winter residents, Long-eared and Saw-whet Owl may be found here.
Spring: This is a very good location for warblers and other spring migrants. A good variety of migrating waterfowl can also be seen here from along the Lake Erie shoreline. Bald Eagles, Osprey, gulls and terns are frequently seen in the area of the marsh.
Summer: Many species of woodland passerines are resident in the area during the nesting season.
Fall: Expect to see a good variety of migrating warblers here at this time of the year. When lake levels allow for the exposure of extensive mudflats, the northwestern portion of this preserve is one of the premiere areas in the entire state for observing migrating shorebirds.
Closed hours/season: This area is open dawn to dark, year around.
Parking Areas: The parking area is near the entrance. Next to Sawmill Creek Resort or you can use the Sawmill Creek Entrance within walking distance from the hotel.
Fees/Permits: No fees or permits are required.
Restroom Facilities: Portable only.
Harmful insects, poisonous plants or animals: Poison ivy.
Located right off State Rt. 2 and 7 miles off the Ohio Turnpike!
Last remaining Ohio example of a Great Lakes coastal wetland
Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve is the last remaining Ohio example of a Great Lakes coastal wetland. Sheldon Marsh contains Category III wetlands, the highest quality designated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Adjacent to Sawmill Creek, this 500 acre preserve is known to attract over 300 bird species. This preserve contains habitats such as old field, hardwood forest, woodland swamp, cattail marsh, barrier sand beach and open water lake. From April – June the woodland floor is covered with blooming wildflowers. Many interesting mammals, reptiles and amphibians live here as well.
Links to related web site:
Best source for a website map for this location: www.dnr.state.oh.us/
Amphibians and Reptiles of the Lake Erie: www.bios.niu.edu/rking/lab/checklist.html