- Written by Charlie Bombaci
|Location||Genoa Township, Northeast of Columbus||Back to Locations|
|Address||3715 Sunbury Road, Galena, OH 43021|
|Features||Nature Preserve, Woods & Wildlife Area, Pond, Bird Sanctuary, Walking Trail, Parking Lot|
Hoover Meadows is a 74.77 acre inland tract of The Hoover Nature Preserve at Hoover Reservoir. It is located on Sunbury Road in Genoa Township, Delaware County, approximately ¼ mile north of Harlem Road and 1 ½ mile south of the Village of Galena.
The Meadows is a narrow rectangular strip of land, but it contains conifers near the front and wetlands, grasslands, ponds, and mature forests farther back. This area can yield Ring-necked Pheasants, Wild Turkeys, Bobolinks, American Woodcocks, warblers, finches, hawks, waterfowl, waders, shorebirds and assorted sparrows. In the winter the area can yield Horned Larks, Snow Buntings, and Lapland Longspurs. The first field contains a handicapped accessible Bluebird Trail. There are two additional fields and a forested section at the rear. All areas are worth exploring.
Hoover Meadows was added to the Hoover Nature Preserve in 1990. This plot of land owned by the City of Columbus was previously leased for use as a pasture for cattle. When the land was incorporated into the preserve, it was in a sorry state. The front three quarters was overgrown with invasive plants, large shrubs, thistle, hawthorne and multiflora rose. The surface was trodden-down clay soil. To say the least, it was in dire need of a redo to become useful habitat.
A small army of dedicated volunteers, the author included, vigorously took on the pasture. The invasive flora was "terminated with prejudice", although it took revenge via the multiflora rose and hawthorne counterattack. At that point the land was allowed to revert to a natural state. Grassland habitat developed and with it came the birds and other wildlife.The Meadows were carefully developed through the guidance and direction of the City of Columbus Recreation & Parks Department and the Hoover Nature Preserve Advisory Council. Craig Seeds and Elayna Grody, both City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department personnel, were very instrumental in enabling the development of the Meadows for the public's enjoyment and the creation of high quality habitat for the birds and animals. A trail system was developed to allow the public to walk the fields without trekking through grass full of ticks (a very good reason to remain on the trails).
Later, additional wetland habitat and ponds were created at the Meadows as part of the wetland replacement adjudication settlement with ODOT for wetlands destroyed in construction of the Spring-Sandusky interchange.
Hoover Meadows has restricted hours, opening at 8:00 AM and closing at sundown daily. There is a parking lot at the entrance. From the parking lot, walk past the cable gate and along the path to visit the rest of the Meadows.
Exploring Hoover Meadows
The front evergreen grove, in appropriate seasons, attracts Barred Owls, an occasional Long-eared Owl, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Red-breasted Nuthatches, White-breasted Nuthatches, Brown Creepers, Winter Wrens, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Hermit Thrushes, Fox Sparrows, Pine Siskins and multiple species of warbler.
The first field features the old pasture pond, wetland marsh, sloped fields and edge areas. The area near the pond and marsh has recorded Pied-billed Grebes, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Cattle Egrets, Green Herons, Sandhill Cranes, Canada Geese, a wide variety of dabbling ducks, American Kestrels, American Coots, a few species of shorebirds, Eastern Kingbirds, Yellow Warblers, and Common Yellowthroats. The fields and edge areas are often good for Red-tailed Hawks, Ring-necked Pheasants (when the grass is tall), Acadian, Least and an occasional Alder Flycatcher, Yellow Warblers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Palm Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Yellow-breasted Chats, Vesper, Savannah, Field, Grasshopper and Song Sparrows, Indigo Buntings and Eastern Meadowlarks.
There is a tree line between the first and second field. It should be checked, by sight and sound, for Bobolinks perched at the high points and cuckoos in the low areas. Both Black-billed and Yellow-billed Cuckoos frequent and nest in this thick brushy habitat.
Once in the second field, scan the grasses for Grasshopper, Vesper and Savannah Sparrows, Eastern Meadowlarks and Bobolinks. Watch overhead for the occasional Black Vulture hanging around with the Turkey Vultures, soaring birds of prey such as Bald Eagles, Northern Harriers, and Red-tailed, Red-shouldered and Cooper's Hawks. Check the edges of the grove for Blue-winged Warblers, Eastern Towhees, Brown Thrashers, Olive-sided Flycatchers, Willow Flycatchers and Eastern Bluebirds. The shallow pond and wetland has produced Green Herons, Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, Virginia Rails, Sora Rails, Wilson's Snipes, Common Yellowthroats and Swamp Sparrows.
Between the second field and the forested area is a second tree line. To the south side there is a row of large dead trees. This section floods in the spring and dries up in the fall. Species that can be found here, dependent on the season, include American Bitterns, Green Herons, Wood Ducks, Blue-winged and Green Winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Sora Rails, Common Moorhens, shorebirds, Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos, Great Horned Owls, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Lincoln's, White-crowned, White-throated, Savannah and Swamp Sparrows.
The last area of the Meadows is a forested area that houses two seasonal vernal pools and a ravine with a small stream. (The interior sections of this area are restricted and permission to enter must be granted by the Recreation and Parks Department.) There is a trail that goes along the south edge of the forest and can be very productive, especially during migration. Species recorded in this area include Sharp-shinned, Cooper's, Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks, Wild Turkeys, Eastern Screech Owls, Eastern Wood Pewees, Acadian Flycatchers, Eastern Phoebes, Great Crested Flycatchers, White-eyed, Yellow-throated, Blue-headed, Philadelphia and Red-eyed Vireos, all the thrushes, Cedar Waxwings, most warblers during migration, Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, Orchard and Baltimore Orioles, and Purple Finches. The more common species can be found throughout Hoover Meadows. From 1990 through 2010, 188 species have been recorded at Hoover Meadows.
Sample Bird ListThe following is a list of bird species observed at Hoover Reservoir or in areas near to it in January, 2011. A total of 85 species were reported during the month. The water at Hoover Reservoir was mostly frozen throughout this period.
Great Blue Heron
Greater White-fronted Goose
American Black Duck
Great Horned Owl
American Tree Sparrow