Sunday morning we set off to visit the Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve, just east of Huron, Ohio. This beautiful place, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Web site,” is protected as a State Nature Preserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve because it is one of Ohio’s best remaining examples of a natural estuary.” The visitor center was recently remodeled and offers fun and interesting educational exhibits in a clean and comfortable, “green” indoor environment. What’s outdoors is what really counts, however, so we spent most of our time under open sky. Marked hiking trails conduct walkers (no dogs allowed, by the way) through quiet woodland settings and to views of the open wetlands of the estuary.
Attracting much attention from visitors was activity in an open prairie field across from the visitor center, site of many nesting boxes for Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor). The boxes and the skies above them were busy with the aerial maneuverings and activities of resident swallows. The birds were living their lives there before us: mating (no “bird porn” here), catching insects, setting up housekeeping, all at incredible speed. Bird watchers of every ilk stopped by to enjoy the show and take in the brilliant iridescent blue plumage of the small birds.
The birds, the water, the animals of the forest were all wonderful to see. It doesn’t hurt, however, to look up towards trees, sky, and sun… you never know what beauty may await.